For many people, the upcoming Quad-City Times Bix 7 race on Saturday, July 30, isn’t really about the road race. It’s really about doughnuts and cups of coffee. It’s about hotel rooms and meals at restaurants. It’s about bringing thousands of people to the area who will visit and shop in many local businesses. The […]
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
For many people, the upcoming Quad-City Times Bix 7 race on Saturday, July 30, isn’t really about the road race.
It’s really about doughnuts and cups of coffee. It’s about hotel rooms and meals at restaurants. It’s about bringing thousands of people to the area who will visit and shop in many local businesses.
The Bix 7 weekend is really about putting a spark into the local economy. Thousands of runners, and many family members, friends and guests will visit local businesses, spend millions of dollars and give the Quad Cities economy a midsummer boost.
“The visitor economy wins during Bix 7 weekend as it produces more than $4 million in direct economic impact,” said Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “The Bix 7 adds value to our regional destination’s quality of life and quality of place. It’s a blast, motivating, truly authentic, fun and showcases some of our unique neighborhoods and downtown Davenport.”
Mr. Herrell added that the region can expect this type of economic impact from the seven-mile road race and its festivities:
- More than $4 million in annual direct economic impact.
- $5.8 million in direct and indirect economic impact for the region.
- 82.1% hotel occupancy rate over the few days of the Bix 7 (2021 data). The entire month of July (2021) was 63.4%
- Average daily rates for hotels were 27% higher during Bix 7 weekend versus the entire month of July.
“Sports tourism and lifestyle events like the Bix 7 deliver. Yes, they create opportunities to mobilize your residents and get them excited about participation,” Mr. Herrell added.
Bix weekend party time
One of the most visible economic impacts of the Bix 7 weekend can be seen in a series of block parties planned in downtown Davenport. The parties, sponsored and presented by numerous downtown businesses, will feature live music, food and drinks on Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30.
“Anytime your downtown is programmed to have an event, it’s going to have a huge economic impact on your business,” said Kyle Peters, owner of the newly opened Daiquiri Factory at 303 W. Third St.
Mr. Peters also is an organizer of one of those downtown block parties – called the Bix Mix.
The Bix Mix, which is being presented by the Daiquiri Factory, The Carriage Haus, Mac’s Tavern and Kilkenny’s Pub, will feature several bands on July 29 and 30.
Even though this will be the first Bix 7 for the Daiquiri Factory, which opened Thursday, May 19, Mr. Peters is optimistic the weekend will be great for his business. He expects at least a 50% increase in his business compared to other summer weekends.
However, the economic importance of the Bix 7 is not confined to one busy weekend, he added. The Daiquiri Factory owner said the Bix 7 and other big events help showcase local businesses. One of the main goals is to get visitors to return to those businesses when they return to the Quad Cities. A positive experience might even get people to plan more trips to the region.
“This puts us on the radar for many people,” he added.
Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP), added that the Bix 7 will help reintroduce people to downtown businesses.
“It’s a great opportunity for our local businesses to get a midsummer boost, and it’s even more welcome after the last couple of years dealing with COVID,” he added.
More doughnuts, more coffee
Bix 7 Saturday will also be a busy day for many other neighboring Davenport businesses. For instance, Molly Otting Carlson, executive director of the Hilltop Campus Village, said the economic impact of Bix 7 should be divided into two categories: Pre-Bix – People arriving in the community before race day will help hotels, restaurants and bars; and Bix 7 Day – People in the community just on that day will especially help local coffee shops and doughnut shops. “It’s going to really come alive on Bix 7 day,” she added.
Donuts & More at 1717 Brady St., Davenport, is one of those businesses expecting to do great business on July 30.
Maya Roberts, the store’s manager, said the business will likely get many larger orders – several dozen doughnuts per order – for events associated with Bix 7 or groups helping with race day events.
“We’re going to see those big orders. … It’s always crazy here on Brady Street,” she added.
She also expects business will be booming on July 30, but isn’t sure by how much over an ordinary Saturday. She just hopes the Bix 7 runners will remember to stop by for a doughnut after the race. “You deserve a doughnut after a big race,” she added.
Other downtown businesses also are preparing for big crowds and big business during Bix 7 weekend.
“The Bix is always neck and neck with St. Paddy’s Saturday as our biggest day of the year,” said Daniel Bush, an owner of Analog Arcade Bar, 302 N. Brady St., and Armored Gardens, 315 Pershing Ave. “It’s a homecoming for our city, and as long as the weather is tolerable, we expect to see big crowds. On Bix in previous years, we have seen our typical Saturday sales double.”
Many new businesses also are looking forward to a big Bix 7 weekend. The Mississippi River Distilling Co. opened its new Downtown Davenport Lounge in June to showcase its many mixed drinks.
Owner Ryan Burchett said the lounge will be hosting live jazz music on the Thursday before Bix 7. On race day, it will be offering $2 off a cocktail to people with a finishing medal or wearing a race bib.
“Bix is the quintessential Downtown Davenport event and we can’t wait to be a part of the festivities,” said Mr. Burchett. “Since we just opened the new space, we don’t know exactly what to expect. Most important for us is supporting the downtown community and being a small part of a huge party in downtown. We look forward to sharing some smiles with people throughout the weekend.”
But not all businesses are expecting a Bix 7 boom. Officials with some downtown businesses, such as Lopiez pizza restaurant at 429 E. Third St., do not expect a boost in business.
“The Bix is pretty much just a regular day for Lopiez,” said Andrew Lopez of Lopiez. “We are at the finish line, so that means our whole building is blocked off from a lot of people until about noon, that’s when they take down all the fencing. But by then most of the runners go home, shower up and head back downtown usually to the Bix Fest. We might get a little late night pop, but by then, people have had their fun and are usually exhausted from running and partying all day.”