B&Bs beating the recession - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

B&Bs beating the recession

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Some businesses thrive when there's an economic downturn: Bed and breakfasts are one such place. With people staying closer to home, area B&Bs are seeing an increase in customers.

Built in 1883, Richards House on Locust Street had a charm that made Dave Stuart want to live there, but he needed a way.

"I didn't live in town, and so I needed a reason to buy the house so the bank would loan me the money for it, and a bed and breakfast was something the bank would loan me the money for," Stuart said.

That was back in 1989. Since then, more guests are also taking in the charm of the historic home.

"This year we're up a little bit. Which was up a little bit from the year before."

Part of that is the customer base is still folks looking for a getaway close to home.

"Most of the people that come to dubuque and stay in a B&B come from within a four hour drive from here. Chicago, Des Moines," Stuart said.

For example, this weekend, all six rooms are booked, but there are some differences.

"We're noticing a few changes though because of the economy. Our lesser priced rooms may fill in before the more expensive rooms, which we're not used to."

Also, people are more often paying in cash and taking advantage of weeknight rates.

"We think that bed and breakfasts, especially in Dubuque, represent a great value. You get highly personalized service in a place that you'd never get to stay in otherwise, for a price many nights of the week less than a hotel."

With the economy, there's another benifit if you'd like to make a quick trip.

"With the softness, we're not necessarily booked up as early, so you can get in at the last minute sometimes," Stuart said.

Richards House has not increased their room rates in several years. The owners say most local B&Bs are holding rates steady -- especially now -- to keep customers coming back.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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