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Ironman triathlon brings boost in business to some Morro Bay restaurants

Posted at 9:38 PM, May 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-21 01:02:12-04

Roads in and around Morro Bay are back open after a major event in the city Saturday and while thousands of visitors were expected, not everyone was happy about the increased crowds.

It was the very first Ironman triathlon to be held in Morro Bay and with around 2,000 people participating in the event, local restaurants were busy.

Morro Bay House of Jerky owner Jeff Eckles compared the feel of the race to a typical summer weekend in the coastal town.

“Some business owners I have spoken with here, we’ve been cautiously optimistic since it’s the first one, we don’t know exactly what to expect, but we’ve had tons of people in town business already up,” Eckles said.

Some restaurant owners got an early start gearing up for the influx of customers.

“I’ve been open since 4:30 this morning just so I could have supplies for the runners,” said Tony Carigan, owner of Daisy’s Organic Coffee and Tea.

But the increased crowds in the area did not boost business for everyone.

Francine Esposito, owner of HWY 41 Antique Emporium, says her parking lot is normally packed on weekends, but it was a different scene on Saturday.

“Where are all my customers? This place should be loaded, it's all empty," Esposito said.

With many road closures in place, people lined the streets to cheer on the competitors.

The event is scheduled to be back next year since the Ironman 70.3 triathlon has a three-year deal with the City of Morro Bay.