Name: Lloyd Reeves
Job: Concessionaire at Atascadero Lake
Business: Chaffin and Reeves Inc. What he said then:
In spring 2010, Lloyd Reeves attracted headlines by seeking city approval for rides in a scaled-down replica of a World War II submarine at Atascadero Lake Park.
Reeves, who lives in Los Osos, has run the kayak and paddleboat concession at the lake for more than a decade. He hoped the 1928 S-44 replica would attract tourists and veterans.
“I don’t want to spend money doing something unpopular,” he said, citing a cost of about $8,000 to install and insure the craft. What he says now:
The sub did its three-month tour of the lake and moved on.
Meanwhile, concessions at the park have been “phenomenally slow.”
“I’ll probably operate at a slight loss” this summer, Reeves predicted. “But we have gone three years with no profit.
“I would call Atascadero my hobby business and Redondo Beach is my bread winner,” he added. His Southern California concession boasts four times the equipment, but earns 12 or 13 times as much as Atascadero.
“If I lose $2,000 a year, that’s less than $200 a month,” said Reeves. A kayaker himself, he sees the lake as a good hangout when coastal weather is bad.
“I have a couple of kids,” he said. “They make their summer wages up there.”
Recently incorporated as Chaffin and Reeves Inc., the family owned business also helps stage local fund-raisers, including the Biathlon Run & Paddle on May 22 for Big Brother/ Big Sister of San Luis Obispo County.
The shift he’s seen over the past few years could be related to dwindling personal travel budgets and rising gas prices.
“We used to get lots of folks from Greenfield and Santa Maria,” he said. Extended families spread north and south across the state often met for reunions. “Atascadero’s sort of like a middle point for most of their families.”
On the other hand, the Redondo Beach business has seen increases from Southern California locals, he said. “Instead of dropping $400 to come to San Luis Obispo County, somebody in Glendora will drive to Redondo Beach for the day and drop $100 in Redondo Beach.”
The Los Osos resident admits Atascadero might have a better shot at attracting tourists for wine tasting.
“I kind of think the people who are into wine tasting are in a higher social and economic class,” he said. “I’m dealing with a Budweiser crowd. We’ll see what happens in the summer.”