Businesses Cope with Bike Letdown
COLUMBIA - What was once promised to be an onslaught of consumerism for Columbia businesses, turned out to be anything but.
Traffic, violence and noise these were fears that rolled through mid-Missouri in the weeks preceding the National Biker Roundup at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
Another sure thing that was thought to come with the bikers was major traffic for local businesses.
"Anytime you get thousands of people here and they stay and they eat, and I think most of the motels were full. That's economic impact." said George Harris, General Manager of the Boone County Fairgrounds.
But that didn't happen everywhere.
"We expected a lot [of business] but we didn't get anything," said Nathan Fuchs, a server and manager at Ernie's Cafe.
Fuchs said the restaurant took costly precautions to prepare for the extra diners such as staffing extra people, preparing extra food, and even advertising- which is very rare for Ernie's.
Fuchs said the extra work was for nothing, only a negligible number of biker's came in.
"Every business downtown was ready," said Fuchs, "but nothing ever came. It's like waiting for a hurricane and boarding up all your windows and then nothing happens."
Fuchs said the bikers were drawn more toward chain restaurants, and said some biker customers said security precautions at the fairgrounds made it undesirable to leave.