Sturt Street businesses capitalised on valuable extra businesses after a tough start to the year with solid crowds taking to the city's main street to watch the criterium events on Friday.
While some businesses were forced to close while the event took place due to staffing issues created by the pandemic, others saw bumper trade.
Spectators gathered outside Sturt Street bars, cafes and restaurants to enjoy a meal or a drink while watching some of the country's best cyclists take to streets.
Midtown Cellars and Bar took advantage of its first RoadNats with a tap takeover, specials and by trialling a sandwich stall.
Owner Jonny Driver said the extra foot traffic alone would be a big boost for the business.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"I've put specials on and done a tap takeover, so all these people are helping out because they know we've had a pretty rough trot, especially when we've had to close for isolating like every other business has had to, so to get a ring in of a couple of thousand people walking past, even if they're not even coming in, they just see the sign and know for next time, I think it's great," he said.
"We get a lot of people just coming in and saying they didn't even know we were here and didn't know because you realise that as much as Ballarat's a small place, it's still a pretty big city, you're not walking past every block every day.
"I'm all for it. I hope that they can get the contract to do it in the future."
Europa Cafe was also busy with spectators, but owner Kathryn Hotchin said it was not as busy as previous years due to the current pandemic situation.
"That's sort of scaring people away, but there's a few places along here that haven't been able to open because of staffing scenarios, so us and the pub on the corner are the only ones open here, so that should make us a bit busier and push a few more people our way," she said.
"It's really important to bring all of this sort of infrastructure to Ballarat and the bike race always brings a lot either side of the actual event because people are bumping in and bumping out so it's always a really good event for us, generally. This year, it has been quieter than previous years, even leading into it, but we just take what we can at the moment."
The Golden City Hotel was in prime position on Friday, positioned right at the start-finish line, and also experienced some additional business from the infrastructure behind the national event.
"All in all, the reception's been good. Certainly, the numbers are down and that's obviously due to the COVID situation, but we're making the most of what we've been dealt with," owner Tim Kearney said.
"We've been lucky enough to do a bit of extra catering for different groups coming to town, especially AusCycling, and we're also helping feed all the workforce.
"Everyone's been in a similar situation and any extra business or any extra events that we have in Ballarat are really important to aid our recovery and get us back on track."
Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney said while the hospitality and accommodation sectors benefit from RoadNats, he would like to see that expanded to retailers.
"It's just a good consistent performing event, I think. Even during last year, which was one of our heaviest years due to COVID, it still generated a $1.9 million economic benefit to the city. It's usually several million dollars normally, in good times, so hopefully it continues to improve again this year," he said.
"A few of the different cafes and restaurants I've spoken to, even this morning, said trade has been great, they've been really busy. If anything, they've had trouble keeping up with staffing pressures.
"I think one of the things that you can't calculate is the benefit to the wellbeing of the city. To have people just out socially engaging again, enjoying events and just being part of a community that we've not really been able to do for a couple years. They're the benefits that are harder to track."
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.