We get to know our receptionist Vivienne Barker, who is one of the first people you speak to when calling and often the first face you see when you walk into the Club. She is a bubbly person who loves retail therapy, knitting and lunching out with her friends.
THBC: When did you start at Tweed Heads Bowls Club? And what is your role?
I joined THBC about 43 years ago and was employed by the General Manager Bob Watts, which now seems to be a lifetime ago. I have seen many changes and additions to the Club, both in systems of work and structurally. The one important factor that remains the same to this day is a strong friendship and caring nature of the THBC family, being our staff. I have also seen a lot of different staff come and go but I am still here at the Bowlo.
My roles have ranged from working in the bar areas, tray service in our then auditorium which had live entertainment and was always a bustling night and often they would close the front doors because of overcrowding. I worked in the gaming area, which included Keno and poker machines, as well as some Supervising and helping Sue McGurgon who was once our finance manager with reports on the weekends.
While in promotions, there was a time I worked with Jimmy White, a local radio announcer with a game called Club Cash, which was a type of auction. At one time this included me cruising through the grandstands at the Golden Nugget in my swimsuit and sarong selling raffle tickets (This was a long time ago). OMG.
I also worked in Catering for functions, in The Blue Room and our members Christmas parties, which were always a huge event. I remember one year the member’s party being held at Duranbah on the beach under large marquees, with the theme being Hawaiian. Oh, the stories! Whatever happens at the Christmas party stays at the Christmas party. H.O., H.O., H.O.
Also worked in The Café and these days, I am on front reception and switchboard.
THBC: What does your average day at work look like?
Working at reception and the switchboard, I have to ensure that I have all the current details of functions, staff and activities for that day and coming weeks. My duties include processing and renewing memberships, updating function details, servicing The Pantry, receipting of monies, responding to emergency situations and most importantly providing a friendly smile to meet and greet our members and guests.
THBC: What do you love about customer service?
I am a people person and enjoy the interaction with various members and guests. It never ceases to amaze me what stories they have to share, and also a little compassion goes a very long way.
THBC: What is the number one question continually asked by our members and guests?
I would say before Covid-19, “when are the new escalators going to be installed“? Good news is, they are installed and ready for action on opening day.
THBC: What benefits are there to becoming a member of the Tweed Heads Bowls Club?
It is often said this is an excellent Club with wonderful caring staff willing to go above and beyond to assist patrons in enjoying a memorable visit. It’s worth joining just for the discount on meals and drinks alone, a few lovely roast meals and your membership has already paid for itself. Also, Bowls Manager, Wayne Turley has many interactive events and programs, and this is highlighted by the high standard of current bowlers. The selection of food and facilities are very comprehensive as well as organised events and activities.
THBC: Where did you grow up?
Born on the way to Newcastle hospital, parked out the front of Marcus Clark’s department store, which was my first experience with retail therapy and honestly not my last.
THBC: When did you move to the Gold Coast/Tweed?
I moved to Coolangatta with my Novocastrian girlfriends in the early seventies and continued the partying and lived to tell the story. I worked at Pacific Village, Hayman Island and a short time in Darwin and the Gulf and then back to the Gold Coast and The Coolangatta Hotel.
THBC: What was your favourite overseas trip?
It would have to be my last trip as they only get better. In 2019 we arrived in Lisbon, Portugal. It was footy finals week and we found the best pop up bar to celebrate the win with the locals. After 4 days of exploring, we then drove down to Carvoeiro on the southern coast. Fresh seafood and boating through the sea caves were our highlights. Next, it was off to Northern Ireland, which was a great history lesson, fabulous “diddleee dee” music and incredible pints of Guinness. A quick flight to beautiful Oslo and the start of an amazing trip through the fjords and alps of Norway. Spent our last week exploring Arnhem, Utrecht and Haarlem in the Netherlands. So glad we didn’t miss out on this trip as this May, we were to holiday in The Greek Isles, Vienna, Budapest and Germany. Like so many travellers, the virus extinguished our plans.
THBC: What are your hobbies?
During COVID times, walking every day for mindful therapy. In normal times I enjoy retail therapy, Pilates, yoga, lazing at the beach, reading, shopping, lunches out with the girls, cooking, movies, more retail therapy and planning another holiday.
THBC: I heard that you are quite crafty, what do you like to make?
With the COVID–19 isolation, I have become a crazy knitter with 8 ‘pieces’ in my Colourful COVID Collection.
THBC: What is your favourite meal from Tweed Heads Bowls Club?
Anything with prawns or other seafood. But whenever we have dined in nineteen21 restaurant, it is always fantastic food and service.