City To Run Oval Beach Concession Stand
On the subject of the Oval Beach concession stand for summer 2013 and perhaps the future, Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier said, “We decided that we could run it ourselves and make a profit.”
The Saugatuck City Council mulled over the issue at last week’s workshop.
“What we came to find out in our market research - which included comments by visitors and residents - is that beachgoers want reasonably priced ‘concession’ food,” said Harrier.
“It is simple, we are not going to have gourmet food - it’s hot dogs, ice cream, slushies and pretzels. Stuff you consume at a base ball game,” he added.
The three-year contract the city had with Sand Witches of Douglas to run the concession stand expired last season.
The contractor opted not to renew its agreement with the city. “When we licensed with them (Sand Witches) we made $3,000. I guarantee we will make more than that (this year),” said Harrier.
Asked how much more, Harrier said it depended on the summer season and how many visitors end up going to Oval Beach.
Either way, the food service at the beach will run longer than it did with the contractor. Instead of closing at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. it will operate until the beach closes.
There are no plans to improve the actual concession building, but the city will be spending $20,000 to equip the facility with soft-serve ice cream and slushies machines and a hot-dog warmer.
“It’s going to be a nice place to go, enjoy nature and have an ice cream cone,” said Harrier.
In related news, the Saugatuck City Council will be discussing whether or not to open the beach earlier during the tourist season than the current schedule allows, which is currently at 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
That discussion will take place at a special city council workshop next week Thursday at 4 p.m. at city hall.
While some beach patrons and locals want the city to open the beach earlier, there are some limitations, such as having enough staff to attend, maintain, and provide safety measures at the beach for longer hours, say Saugatuck officials.
“Everything in government is about dollars; you want to balance wants and needs with revenues,” said Harrier.