Respected Harrogate figure's concern at impact on businesses of UCI cycling championships

Paul Rawlinson of popular Nordic-flavoured cafeBaltzersens in Harrogate.
Paul Rawlinson of popular Nordic-flavoured cafeBaltzersens in Harrogate.

A respected figure in Harrogate's independent sector has been talking to the Harorgate Advertiser about his concerns over the benefits of the UCI cycling championships - or not.

Paul Rawlinson of popular Nordic-flavoured cafe Baltzersens in Harrogate town centre, which is known for its international outlook, said he is hoping for a bumper weekend coming up at the end of what has been a ‘relatively quiet week’.

He is not alone in his comments over the size of visitor numbers in Harrogate during the current UCI Road World Championships.

His views are shared by several other independent Harrogate businesses who have contacted the Harrogate Advertiser, as well as some readers.

The director of Baltzersens Ltd, said he was waiting to see if the rest of the week would cover the expense it had gone to in terms of decorating the outside of his award-winning cafe.

Mr Rawlinson said: “We have had a slightly quieter week than we were expecting last week - down on my projections.

“I would put this down to the build-up disrupting people’s usual habits in terms of shopping and generally coming into town. Obviously at this stage there weren’t any visitors either.

“I would say that for my business it’s too early to judge.

"We’ve had some weaker days and it remains to be seen if the coming week makes up for it and also covers the expense we’ve gone to in terms of decorating the outside of the shop etc.”

These bars and businesses are backing Harrogate during UCI cycling championships

First launched nearly seven years ago, the cafe was inspired by ex-military man Paul’s Norwegian grandmother but prides itself on using the best Yorkshire-sourced ingredients.

He said: “We are being broadcast to a national and global TV audience and that has to pay some kind of dividend, but it’s incredibly difficult to even attempt to put a number on it.

“I do have a lot of sympathy for other businesses in the town centre that have not been able to open or have found it very quiet.

“The reality for small businesses is that if you lose a week of takings from your cashflow, without any reserves, it could be fatal.”

On a positive note, Mr Rawlinson said he had experienced no problems with supplies being delivered or staff travelling to work.

He said: “Monday was a busy day and we have hopes that things will build as the week goes on to a busy crescendo at the weekend.”

In an unrelated bit of news, a “Harrogate Against UCI” page has been launched on Facebook this week which currently has 144 followers and 128 likes so far.

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