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SPOTLIGHT ON ALLAN FREIHAUT

  1. Your name, your club and your position.

Allan Freihaut, Secretary Manager at Bulahdelah Bowling Club

  1. What is your biggest or has been your biggest challenge with the club and your role?

Money, patronage and surviving a highway by-pass. Our town had road workers in town for a 12 year period (5 years ago) upgrading different sections of the Pacific Highway. Once these (mostly single guys left town) our club suffered a massive decline in revenue and just for one example I’ll use our poker machine revenue. We had a decline of $180,000 in poker machine profit for the year. Yes, profit not turn over, plus of course, our bar and bistro also took a belting.

I started work here at the Bulahdelah Bowling Club the same year that the workers left town and my main ambition was to increase the patronage in the Club. With a total population of 1142 people, there’s not a lot of adult people with “spend money” as Bulahdelah in a fairly poor town financially.

  1. What have been some of your achievements or highlights since being at the club?

I’ve tried the wedding market without much joy at all but when the board allowed me to develop some of the Club’s unused land into “overnight” caravan parking this has been our saviour, not only for this Club but all local business in Bulahdelah.

I’ll give you an example of money or turn over for the first financial year.

We charge each camper $5 for a 72-hour stay, yes about $1.67 per day. If they want power it’s an extra $5 per vehicle per day. In the first full financial year, the Club raised $21,000 in $5 lots and our bar for that year had a $44,000 profit increase, let alone the increase in our bistro.

Camper’s simply want somewhere safe, affordable and walking distance to great food and cold beverages.

We don’t advertise anywhere the campers do it all for us mostly on Wiki Camps. They share their experiences and now we have most caravaners ringing up in advance to make sure they can get a site.

  1. Is there a piece of advice or something compelling you have learnt that you can pass on to our readers and up and coming managers.

I think you have to look at the Club industry in this manner – “everyone at home has a BIG screen TV, many households now have paid TV for all the sports, they all have the cheap beer and wine at home so what do I need to do in my Club to give them an excuse to leave their house and come down to their local Club”.

That’s the million dollar question.

  1. Outside of the club and your role there. Do you have any hobbies or passions? Tell us a bit about you.

I’ve been an entertainer for 27 years. I play guitar and sing as a solo or duo act. I am also very passionate (or mad) on fishing. So if I’m not at the Club I’m away gigging somewhere (which also gives me a look at what other venues are doing) or I’m out on the high seas being a “hunter and gatherer” for not only my family but also a lot of the pensioners here at the Club. It’s great to give someone a fresh feed of fish and then all of a sudden there’s homegrown veggies or homemade apple or grammar pies in the cool room for me.

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