Businesses gear up for Games 

Night deliveries begin, anticipation increases

If there is one thing Joey Gibbons is worried about on the eve of the Winter Olympics it is the fear of the unknown.

But the owner of Gibbons Hospitality - which runs the Longhorn Saloon, Tapley's and Buffalo Bills - quickly adds even that fear is nothing new to Whistler businesses.

"Being in Whistler, we are naturally able to adapt from a massive weekend to a slow weekend, just because of weather or American long weekends or Christmas," said Gibbons.

"We get these things all the time where we are as busy as we can possibly be, so we know what to expect. I am not scared of anything at all. I feel we are well prepared."

Gibbons' anticipation of what will unfold in Whistler is shared among almost all business owners in the resort municipality.

Nine days before the opening ceremonies take place in Vancouver, on Feb. 12, businesses throughout Whistler Village are starting to ramp up their service levels and prepare for whatever the Winter Olympics bring with them.

Some business owners are confident, others are anxious. Some believe they are over prepared, while others may be under prepared. Almost everyone, though, is energized to tackle what will come.

"I am very excited," said Wayne Katz, owner of Zog's Dogs, Moguls Coffee House and Gone Bakery. "I have always been excited about getting people here from all over the world.

"Yes, we are human, and we feel the inconveniences of the delays and rerouting and the cops and the politicians and all that, but we are excited for the athletes and the events. I like that stuff. That is why I am in Whistler."

Katz has decorated his restaurants and cafes with flags, and starting on Feb. 12, he plans to have all three locations open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He has also been able to increase his workforce substantially by hiring some of the young people who recently arrived in town hoping to get work with the Olympic organizing committee.

The Grocery Store in Village Square has also hired a dozen more staff and is preparing to run all hours of the day.

Owner Bob Adams said they have given a number of their staff media training and they have had staff meetings with everyone - from senior management to new hires - to get everyone focused on the Olympics.

They also bought a new truck to help bolster their operations.

"Now we are just waiting, excited in anticipation," said Adams. "We are prepared as we can be with the big unknowns of what is going to happen."

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