What a year!
Looking closure in the eye.
The club neared closure early in the year with no funds to pay a $15,000 pockie jackpot, while running at a loss for several years and mounting debt.
Following a change in Chairman/President the landlord (Brisbane City Council) read us the riot act with a long list of costly and time consuming issues to address if the club was to stay open. Urban Utilities were knocking on the door for their close to $20,000 debt and during a meeting on site I was served with a Summons to retrieve goods to the value of another unknown debt. Late in the year we found the ATO were due around $15,000. A case of 2 steps forward 1 step back. Such large debts are all on payment plans into 2018.
While dealing with the Council's requirement for independent subcontractors on site (Beans on the Green & the restaurant), to have BCC approved contracts in place, it was highlighted that the restaurant operator did not have its food license, required by law, hence its closure. Following several years of multiple failed restaurant attempts, with high debt levels owed to the club from those relationships, we decided to try out food trucks, which has been a clear success.
Although a not-for-profit club, the incoming volunteer Committee/Board takes on any debt, known or unknown at the time, as it's responsible for the entity and its entire history, unlike when businesses are sold as a going concern focused on sales, database and contracts in place, where far less due diligence is necessary.
Safety concerns and warm beer!
With no money in the bank to speak of, we had to address safety first. The Council requires us to check the electrical RCDs, a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire... The club did not even have RCDs installed! With over 40, 15 to 20 AMP circuits (fatal levels, many times over) and red flag sockets around the building with young families starting to visit the club, it had to be addressed for $4,500 due to the old equipment in place.
Our second big ticket item came to light on Christmas Eve when we found the keg room compressor failing due to a removed cooling circuit board system, unknown to the committee, so we had to close early with beer warming and between xmas and NY move all taps to the neighbouring carton fridge, hence you may have noticed the taps moved location and reduced in number. This also highlighted the overdue maintenance required for the club's refrigeration, near $5,000 later.
Thank you all :)
Thanks to the committee, supporting volunteers and your tremendous response to keep the club going, we had great success with several event days for fundraising, Halloween, Stone & Wood with Violent Solo and lastly the Christmas party. This enabled the committee to continue paying off debt while also investing in adding shade cover for all weather and move more tables and chairs outside. The Greens have been improved, club house kept cleaner and dozens of smaller items been addressed, and now we can communicate with over 1,600 of you on Facebook.
Accountability & trust.
We needed to employ a lead bar person who acted with accountability & trust, as you would expect, while supervising casual bar staff, and our OP1 muso Jeremy has brought just that and more since he joined the team in Nov, while previous casual bar guys Lachy & Cal still help out in support of Nikkee & Seamus.
We've implemented a 2 stage sign off for bank payments, appointed an external, independent accountant who's support we could not have survived without, being Andrew Payne, Principal at ATAM Co Accountants in Highpoint Plaza, Ashgrove. http://www.atamco.com.au/ and added monthly stock takes, with many checks and balances along the way. We use cloud storage for receipts/invoices etc via Dropbox, Google Drive and manage tasks through Asana for teams to communicate.
The score card for 2016 is a modest $6,000 operating profit, up on 2015 at near $30,000 loss.
Again, I thank the entire team of volunteers and staff for their hard work in turning the club around, as it has not been easy at all.
I gave myself 3 goals with the club when I took over as President early Sept after helping Chris as VP for a while, though I did not expect it to absorb full time hours until Dec when I committed.
1. To manage the debt and keep it open. (We live next door and do not want the site changed and developed should the club close).
2. To engage the community as this hub can only survive with your full support and attendance.
3. To see it thrive. The best part of all is seeing queues from the bar to the door and families loving the experience, including ours, in their hundreds every weekend :)
It's a wonderful feeling to see and hear the joy the club brings, which is shared by all the committee and support people.
We continue to service the debt plans, address more maintenance jobs and listen to what you want from the club, as we chat with you all each weekend with pleasure.
We are happy to answer questions you may have about the club and receive your ideas, just let us know.
I couldn't think of a better pic than my wife Helen, as the volunteer event coordinator, sitting with Santa at the great end of year event :)
President, Bardon Bowls
Owner/Manager, Artisan Holidays 0407 031 333
Talking of Santa, In case a visit to Lapland is in your plans ;) http://artisanholidays.com.au/santa-lapland-winter-activities/