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Waterloo businesses hope to bank on RAGBRAI financial expectations

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- The one day financial impact of the Waterloo overnight RAGBRAI stop is predicted to be around two and a half million dollars.

Businesses know they really just just 10-12 hours to cash in on the RAGBRAI opportunity, so they go all-out to seize the moment.

Experience Waterloo says there are 24 restaurants and 15 bars within walking distance of the main RAGBRAI area downtown for the one day Waterloo Experience.

The newly renovated Best Western Plus was fully booked long before the day arrived, and, General Manager, Kari Smith, hopes it can carry far beyond RAGBRAI, with several large events on the schedule already.

Smith says, . "It's very optimistic for the community to see things opening back up. Seeing events like this come, and the economic growth that it brings to us is very exciting."

Even across the river, blocks from the main festival area, bicycles were lined up outside Newton's Cafe. Among the customers were riders from Colorado and San Diego. Good news for 4 East Dining, which owns four downtown businesses, including Newton's Cafe.

4 East Dining Director, Kristina Miller, expects a steady flow of patrons for RAGBRAI. ""After 2020, this is going to be great to see all the new faces. Hopefully, we can get people to come back after this and visit Waterloo, and just enjoy downtown Waterloo."

Dozens of bikes were parked outside Singlespeed on Commercial Street, where employees for owner Dave Morgan was expecting a big as, as was Andy Futchman, who owns both Verve and Sidecar Coffee. Futchman told KWWL News he hoped the riders would take a round around, like what they see, and spread the word.

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Ron Steele

Evening Anchor

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