RISING from the ashes is never an easy job.
And so it’s proving for Wentworth Services Club, which, four months under new management, is battling to regain relevance in Sunraysia.
About 6pm on Saturday night, there appeared to be as many staff as there were patrons in the club.
One of the bar staff confirmed the club had been battling to attract people since it re-opened back in September.
Club CEO John Harlock yesterday didn’t shy away from the early difficulties.
“It’s tough,” he said. “There are a lot of changes still to make, but we’re confident we’ll get there.”
Mr Harlock revealed there was a 12-month plan in place to return the Kelly Group-managed club to an “even keel”.
“We’ve invested $150,000 into repairs, maintenance and new equipment for the club,” he said.
“We’re aiming to return it to neutrality by the end of the first year.”
He said the club would continue with the upgrades, including new gaming machines installed yesterday, as well as a TAB area for punters.
It’s understood the club has been frustrated in getting the TAB up and running by Telstra delays.
“We’ve just got a new in-house TV system in place, which will bring back bingo,” Mr Harlock said.
“We have a couple of more pool tables on the way, and we’re aiming to broaden the club’s appeal outside of the 50 to 60-year-olds.”
Part of this, he said, was bringing in more entertainment to entice Gen X and Gen Y to the club.
“We have some tribute bands coming in 2015, including a Robbie Williams and Katy Perry night on Friday, February 13,” he said.
“We also want to improve the quality of our meals to a very high standard. This is already happening, and it will only get better.”
Asked whether the club would consider a return bus service from Mildura to Wentworth for patrons, Mr Harlock said: “We won’t be going down that path at this stage.
“Of course we’d like to be busier than we are now, but it was expected that the first six months would be pretty tough.
“We remain optimistic about the club’s future, and we’re committed to making it a successful one.”
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