Olympic contracts don't guarantee profit

Not all local companies that have secured Olympic contracts will experience the business windfall many expected for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

Some Vancouver businesses will make a bundle, some might lose money

Catering entrepreneur Darryl Ray stands to make a healthy profit from his Olympic contract, but not all contractors will be so lucky. ((CBC))

There was a promise and an expectation of an economic bonanza for B.C.'s South Coast when Vancouver won the bid for the 2010 Olympics. That's turning out to be true for some local companies that have won Olympic contracts, but not for all of them.

Even before the opportunity of the Games arose, business was good at The Butler Did It Catering Co. of Vancouver. But come February, the firm will become the stuff of epicurean and entrepreneurial legend.

The company won the contract to feed the media at six different locations in Vancouver and Whistler during the Olympics.

The company did about $4.5 million in business in 2008, according to owner Darryl Ray.

Ray would not express his expected income from the Games in precise numbers, but he might as well have.

"I can put it this way, we plan on doing a third of that in that one month," Ray told CBC News.

That would be about $1.5 million.

"We'll be on a 24-hour kitchen here for the first time ever," The Butler Did It chef Christy Abbott said.

Not all businesses that got an Olympic contract expect to profit.

'An honour'

"It's an absolute honour to do it, you know," said Margitta Schultz, who owns a small flower store at the Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

But "honour" might be all she'll take home.

Margitta Schultz has an Olympic contract for medal-winners' flowers, but does not expect to profit. ((CBC))

Schultz won the contract to provide the more than 1,400 bouquets for medal winners. But she wondered if her regular business will suffer during the Games.

She remembers the 1986 World's Fair in Vancouver, Expo 86, as a revenue-neutral experience.

"Expo was busy but no place else made any extra money. When you remember that, I don't know if the Olympic games will bring in dollars," Schultz said.

As part of her Olympic contract, Schultz will get what she called a "small salary" for supervising students at a floral school who will be making the bouquets she designed. But there will be no profit margin for the flowers.

Still, Schultz looks at the silver lining.

"It's very good advertising for us. We will not get rich, but we will get famous," she said.