News Satire People Food Other

Ice Rink Proves Magical For Bondi Business

By Marcus Braid on August 15, 2014 in News

Photo: Waverley Council

Photo: Waverley Council

Bondi Beach businesses have lauded the return of Bondi Winter Magic ice rink in helping ensure turnover has remained solid over the chilliest period of the year.

The rink returned to Bondi Beach, after a hiatus last year, from June 27 to July 13 courtesy of collaborative effort from the Bondi Chamber of Commerce and Waverley Council.

“This is for the businesses, about the businesses and by the businesses of Bondi,” Bondi Chamber of Commerce president Mary Anne Cronin said.

“What do people do in winter? They ice skate. What about a rink on the beach? Obviously last year there wasn’t a lot of magic because there wasn’t a lot of ice.”

Kent Hildred, the owner and manager of Ben and Jerry’s at Bondi Beach, said the ice rink was a crucial draw card in attracting businesses into the Winter Magic concept.

“I think it’s a great concept and I think they need the big thing like the ice skating rink,” he said. “I know last year they didn’t have it and we didn’t get involved.

“The year before they had the ice skating rink and we thought that was great, and last year they didn’t have it so we thought ‘how are they going to draw these people in?’

“In terms of winter, we’ve been pretty lucky with the weather. We have such a weather dependent product and it’s such a weather dependent place.”

Franziska Vogel, assistant manager of the Bavarian Bier Café in Bondi, said she had seen a “big increase” since Bondi Winter Magic started.

“In summer we are really busy, but winter has a big impact on the business, especially here in Bondi,” she said. “A lot of tourists come to the area and they are especially attracted to the Winter Magic festival. There’s always something special in Bondi and the beach isn’t really attractive in winter.”

The Bucket List on Bondi Beach hosted the launch of Bondi Winter Magic on June 26. Alex Macchi, the bar’s manager, praised the initiative as productive for his business.

“We’re very close to the ice rink,” he said. “Out of every 100 people walking by, maybe 10 or 15 come in. It’s a good turnout, especially now it’s quiet.

“For us the ice rink is bringing families and kids to have lunch and maybe dinner, and definitely there’s more people walking around.”

Now in its fifth year, Bondi Winter Magic was launched after a particularly tough winter for Bondi businesses six years ago.

“One of the local businesses had just started up and they said they didn’t know if they could survive another winter at Bondi,” Ms Cronin said. “A few of us got together – businesses and Council – and said ‘what can we do?’ We then got a tourism grant from Destination NSW.”

Several events have been carried out throughout the course of Bondi Winter Magic, including the popular Bondi History Walk, and Art and Music on the Streets.

“A couple of things have certainly stood out and lasted the test of time,” Ms Cronin said. “One of them is Music on the Streets, which is one of our favourite things. These events are designed to bring people to the streets of Bondi to then go out into the shops and restaurants.

“What we want to do is create activity on the streets and activity in the retail spaces because it’s all about the businesses and it’s all about you.

“We’re looking forward to growing this event and making Bondi a truly winter destination.”