Troy Levenhagen, owner of the Suzie Q diner,didn't have such a good day Wednesday when thousands of RAGBRAI participants hit town.
In fact, he said, he lost $1,200 when the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa spent the night in Mason City.
On the other side of the spectrum, Julie Bergo, owner of Lorado's, said Wednesday was the bestday she's had since the business opened in 1993.
Levenhagen figured he was in the perfect location to have a big day —directly across the street from where thousands of people would be attending the Bret Michaels concert and the Warrant band concert prior to Michaels. He expanded his business hours so he could be open that evening.
What he didn'tcount on, he said, was the security fence that was put up around the area where the concerts were to be held, preventing people from crossing the street to get to his diner.
"I wish I had known that fence was going to be there," he said Monday. "There were 10,000 people who were blocked off. I found out it was part of the Bret Michaels contract so there wasn't anything anybody could do about it.
"I look at it as a learning experience," he said. "It was a great RAGBRAI. Jodee O'Brien and the volunteers did a fabulous job. I lost money and I know some others did, too —but, as a city we put on a kick-butt RAGBRAI and that's the most important thing."
Rob Mulert, owner of the Sportsman's Lounge, said his business did all right but it could have been better. "But I put that all on myself," he said. "I could have done more to promote my business.
"I want to thank Jodee O'Brien and the Main Street Mason City organization and everyone who volunteered their time. As a city, we hit a home run," Mulert said.
Nathan Gann,pastor of Rhythm Church, was also on the other side of the fence. Volunteers were set up to sell hotdogs and hamburgers for lunch and build-your-own burritos for dinner with proceeds going to a fund to help send kids to church camp.
"Thefence killed us," said Gann. "We sold 11 lunches and maybe a few more dinners. We lost $500. But on Sunday we used thefood we didn't sell Wednesday for a fundraiser at churchand did pretty well. So overall, we made $137," he said.
Gann said he was part of the Mason City RAGBRAI committee. He thinks part of the problem is that RAGBRAI personnel from Des Moines were not "upfront" with Mason City planners.
"They oversold and under-delivered," he said. "They said we could expect $3 million to come into Mason City. They should have said $3 million to Mason City, Clear Lake and Ventura."
ButGann, like the others, stressed that RAGBRAI was a great experience for Mason City and praised thevolunteers who made it happen.
Bergo said everything went well all day at Lorado's. "Business was great and everybody was nice and respectful. It was a real good day," she said.
O'Brien, executive director of Main Street Mason City, coordinated all RAGBRAI activities. She said credit for the success goes to the dozens of members of 19 committees that worked for months to put it all together.