Ironman not always good for local business

Businesses say they feel impact of customer detour
Ironman not always good for local business

Ironman athletes swam, biked, and ran though the Madison area over the weekend, which meant a number of roads were closed to traffic.

Business owners said they felt the impact of a customer detour.

The second leg of the race –- a 112 mile bike ride –- went through Verona on Sunday.

Supporters crowded sections of the trail to cheer on their athletes before continuing on to Madison for the marathon run.

All of the cycle traffic complicates consumers’ commute, something Verona Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Carl Curtis has noticed.

Ironman not always good for local business

“The actual day may be slow for our businesses, but on the whole, if you look at the big picture, yeah, it’s good for everybody,” Curtis said.

Curtis said the fans and athletes are on the move too much of the day of the race to bring in business. However, summer training brings people in from out of town, which can mean additional customers at Verona businesses.

“Folks come in, they watch the event, they get back on the bus, and then they head to the marathon,” Curtis explained.

Curtis said a number of businesses in the area choose to stay open, but scale back their staffing.

Miller and Sons grocery store was just blocks away from where streets were shut down.

Managers closed the store once for the race, but this time around, they posted signs suggesting shoppers get their groceries early. They also kept a full staff on for Sunday in order to serve any regulars that did come in.

“May not be the main roads, but you can still go around the back blocks. And yeah, people are getting used to it,” manager Andrea Miller said.

It can be a hassle for anyone not on two wheels, but the town said they’ll will trade a day of big business for the chance to host part of the competition.

“It’s good for the entire community,” Curtis agreed. “It’s good for Dane County. We need to think regionally.”