Having been dealt the blow of COVID, severe thunderstorms and now the temporary closure of the RACV resort in Goldfields, Creswick businesses are hopeful the resort's reopening next month will add a much needed boost to their community and cash flow.
The American Creswick owner Brendan Smith said RACV's closure coupled with the severe thunderstorms earlier this year had a massive impact on their business.
"We had a decline in visitor numbers because of the RACV closure and combined with the impact of the storms, which damaged our shop and knocked out our accommodation, it's been huge," Mr Smith said.
"We've seen about a 50 per cent loss in our food and beverage sales."
Similarly, up the road, Creswick Country Bakery part owner Chonel Burt said, while RACV's closure hadn't caused them a down turn in profit, she estimated it had caused her business to lose thousands of dollars each month.
"RACV don't usually serve food between 10am-3pm so we usually get a lot of their customers coming into our shop, so we've lost a lot of foot traffic," Ms Burt said.
Hepburn Shire councillor Don Henderson agreed the resort's closure had hit businesses hard.
"We as a community perhaps didn't realise the value the resort had on our town until it wasn't there and it's our business people who have suffered and their employees," Cr Henderson said.
"A lot of the people who come in and stay at the resort use that as a base to go out into our local businesses, restaurants and tourist attractions so the resort's closure has a big impact."
Cr Henderson also said other businesses along the town's main street had experienced a similar loss in sales due to the resort's closure.
"Our French bakery, Le Peche Gourmand, told me they had about a 20 per cent loss in trade and the the owner of Creswick's IGA said they had lost thousands of dollars each week," he said.
RACV resort manager Martin Zumstein said, though storms in January caused extensive damage to their hotel, they were working diligently and quickly to restore it.
"A supercell storm across Creswick resulted in extensive damage to the RACV Goldfields Resort and neighbouring properties; we expect the resort to officially re-open by the end of June," he said.
Mr Smith said, while he was excited for the resort to be reopening as it will ensure the sustainability of his business, he was unsure whether it would help him recoup his losses from January up until now.
"I think the reopening will definitely help us get on a better cash flow but I don't think we're going to be able to get back what we've lost," he said.
Ms Burt, on the other hand, was more optimistic and said she believed her business would be able to recover.
"I'm ecstatic that the resort will be reopening and while I think this year it will be challenging for us to gain back what we've lost, I think come next summer, we'll definitely be back on track," she said.
"It's going to be fantastic and I think we'll be busier than ever."
Cr Henderson said it was great to see the resort back on their feet.
"We are seeing a revamped resort and there's been a lot of improvement made and a lot of things that have been rectified as part of the recovery so some good has come out of this," he said.
Mr Zumstein said more information regarding the resort's reopening will be provided in the coming weeks.
"We look forward to welcoming back our guests and the local community," he said.
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