Rising cost of living a boost for Swifts Sports Club
THE rising cost of food is feeding the popularity of places such as Swifts Sports Club which is literally catering for the economic downturn.
Club chairman Ken Boettcher said people turned to Swifts as food prices took a big bite out of their budget.
"We particularly cater for the disadvantaged, pensioners, seniors, singles living alone and generally for those who cannot afford to pay the high prices that some other outlets charge," Mr Boettcher said.
"We are not only cheaper than most takeaways and fast-food outlets, but we serve proper meals similar to home cooking and do not skimp on meal sizes. They are man-size meals.
"People say, 'I couldn't cook these meals at home for the prices you charge.' Another advantage is the atmosphere and the club facilities.
"When I came on board we'd be lucky to serve a dozen meals at lunch time and not many more of a night time. Now, on a bad day we do 100 lunches and at night-time we do anything up to 300. One night the week before last we did 500."
He said the club's bistro area catered for groups of up to 40 and it had the largest function room in the city upstairs, catering for up to 450.
The success of Swifts Sports Club is a far cry from about 12 years ago when it switched from being the failing Booval Bowls Club.
"The bank was foreclosing and we came in and took over," Mr Boettcher said. "We've branched out into a lot of areas. We're involved in seven or eight sports. We took a green out and turned it into a futsal court. We have a football ground at Purga.
"The year before I took over there was a $75,000 loss and the second year we made a profit of $26,000. Since then we've sort of powered along. When I took over there wasn't even 1000 members and we've got over 10,000 members now.
"We'd be the third-biggest in town after Brothers and the Jets and have come from nowhere 10 years ago. In the meantime, we've spent a couple of million dollars here. You wouldn't recognise the place."