Independence Among RAGBRAI 2014 Stops

By Brady Smith, Anchor/Reporter

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa - The Des Moines Register announced Saturday the 2014 route for RAGBRAI, an event that draws around 10,000 cyclists for a ride across the state. One of those stops will include Independence on July 25th. For many local businesses, that means a substantial influx of spending.

Among them is Kosta's Restaurant, a fairly quiet place on a Sunday morning. But that will all change when thousands of riders come through town.

"We used to have them in Galena all the time like I say, and they like to eat," said Catherine Kurutsides, who runs the restaurant with her husband Kosta. They opened here a few months ago.

"We serve breakfast all day, so they like breakfast," Catherine told us.

Kosta's is one of dozens of local businesses looking forward to hungry athletes willing to spend their money. Michelle McBride, director of the Independence Area Chamber of Commerce, said RAGBRAI is a crown jewel of tourist activity.

"It's going to encourage a huge economic boost in our community from the hotels that are already being booked, to the restaurants, to the downtown stores; hopefully people take advantage of that," said McBride.

As the final overnight stop, McBride said Independence will likely see a big party on July 25th. "We have a lot of great nightlife venues; I know they're going to feel it."

And with so many unique sightseeing opportunities and attractions in the community, McBride hopes that will draw cyclists back for future visits.

"The Wapsipinicon river, the Wapsipinicon Mill, we have Heartland Acres out on the edge of town," McBride said.
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