THE OPERATION – Part 1
This is the seventh segment in a series of creating a hypothetical and entrepreneurial approach to rebuilding the sport of curling in the fictional community of Aasvogel, Ontario. It follows from:
There are decisions that need to be made in concert with location and association with other land owners. What operational style will be taken for this endeavour? Assuming that curling is the reason for this start-up venture, variables that may be considered:
- 4 or 6 or 8 sheets of ice – even numbers work better for events/bonspiels
- Membership based or corporate/private rental or creative business planning
- How big a lounge and for what purposes and shared with associated landowner?
- Does the model include an associated recreation or fitness facility?
- Will this promote competitive sport or recreation social?
- What services will be contracted?
Iain Archibald and his group compared the variables giving high-medium-low values to each cell of the matrix:
|Lounge Size||Type of associated facility, if any||Contract Services or In-House||Membership or rental (Mm/R)||Competitive or Recreation (C/R)|
|Independent 4 sheet||L||M||CONTRACT||R||R|
|Independent 6 sheet||M||H, FITNESS||CONTRACT||Mm/R||C/R|
|Independent 8 sheet||H||H, FITNESS, RESTAURANT||IN-HOUSE||Mm/R||C/R|
|GC 8 sheet||H||M||CONTRACT||Mm/R||C/R|
|Municipal Land 4 sheet||L||M||CONTRACT||Mm||R|
|Municipal Land 6||L||M||CONTRACT||Mm/R||R|
|Municipal Land 8||L||M||CONTRACT||Mm/R||R|
The group felt that the larger the facility, the greater the need to keep control of potential revenue producing activities, such as in-house services and a variation of skills and user opportunities. Could the group raise the capital necessary to proceed with a larger facility? The first step is to determine if the project was viable at all. Iain hadn’t the time and the group did not want to risk the cost to review all the scenarios of the matrix. The decision was to look at three: Municipal 4-sheet, recreation based; Golf Course 6-sheet with a mix of competition/recreation; and an independently operated 8 sheet facility with a broad spectrum of other facilities included.
The Municipal scenario comes with it the potential need to use municipal staff. Control would be out of the hands of the independent group. Particularly if the municipality became a financial partner in the facility. But there is security of having a stable partner in the project.
The golf course scenario brings a strong, but not as stable a partner as the municipal scenario, but there would be the entrepreneurial spirit of a private corporation to lend to the endeavor. Some of the services would already be available, but those services would not add to the profitability of the curling group.
The independent course is the highest risk. There would be land costs to consider and partnership scenarios would have to be scrutinized, perhaps more than the other two scenarios.
The group contemplated how they might find the best of the scenarios in a combined form. It appears that starting a club from new is complicated. Any entrepreneur knows that the higher the risk, the higher the reward. Who has done this lately? Can we use their format or a modification? Municipal examples have various ownership and controls: Oakville CC; Miramishi, New Brunswick; and King Curling Club. Varied golf course examples: Glendale, Hamilton; Elmira, Ontario; and St. Georges G&CC, Toronto. Independent clubs: can be found in many rural Canadian communities; and St. Paul CC, Minnesota. If memberships are the main indicator, then Oakville CC (over 1000 members) and St. Paul CC (1200) are examples to emulate. Four sheet clubs in Elmira and King have success with different ownership types. The next step will be to review those and evaluate the scenarios with respect to our municipality and time period.