Retailers celebrate derby day triumph

Forget the race to be named king or queen of the hill - Port Kembla retailers emerged as the biggest winners during Saturday's revived billycart derby, with many recording their best day of trading in years.

Cash tills along Wentworth Street began ringing early in the morning as competitors, support crews and eager spectators dosed up on coffee and breakfast before carters took to the track at 8am for the first round of heats.

Crowd numbers peaked around midday, with an estimated 15,000 lining the course.

Owner of The Red Kitchen Cafe, Caroline Pontello, said she had barely moved from behind her coffee machine all day.

"We've sold more coffee in eight hours today than we normally sell in two weeks," she said.

"We've been through two whole bags [of coffee] and about 70 or 80 litres of milk.

"It's been great for us, and it's been great for Port Kembla. I hope it's a catalyst for Port Kembla to become busy again."

The street's takeaway food outlets also welcomed a steady stream of hungry families throughout the day.

EB's Bar and Grill owner Daniel Brown and Port Pizza and Kebabs boss Martin Jebara both said Saturday's trade was about triple that of a normal weekend.

Mr Jebara told the Mercury he'd never seen Port Kembla so busy.

"It's been awesome; I wish every day was like this," he said.


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