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Caucus impact goes beyond politics, Des Moines business owner says

The Waveland Cafe has hosted candidates like Joe Biden, Fred Thompson and John Edwards.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Over the last twenty years, the Waveland Cafe in Des Moines has enjoyed an up-close and personal view of national politics. Media figures and politicians from across the country have visited the small diner over the course of multiple Iowa caucuses, seeking to make their name known to voters in the Hawkeye State.

"There was a lot of energy that came from this diner," said David "Stoney" Stone, owner of the Waveland Cafe. "And every time candidates would come here, we'd get to see them."

But the highlight of all those caucus memories? A visit from President Joe Biden, back when he was Vice President Biden. 

Waveland stayed open past its usual closing time to host him, as well as a security entourage that stretched blocks past the cafe itself.

"He was signing the side of the bus. And he came in, and certainly, we stayed open, but that was probably one of the more memorable just because of the confusion," Stone recalled.

But those glory days may be fading. On Dec. 2, the Democratic National Committee's rulemaking committee voted to remove Iowa as the leadoff state in their presidential voting calendar. The state's Republican caucuses will still be first, on the GOP front.

"A lot of the rural people are going to get left behind because they're going once again, to where the populace is and where the biggest bang for the buck is. And that could be a casualty for Iowa," Stone said.

And while it's a blow for Iowa's political status, it's just as much a blow for business owners like Stone, who said that the surge in diners from across the country was a reliable source of support for him and his employees.

"The way they're they're taking it away from here, it'll, it'll hurt a lot of businesses, certainly more so I think downtown, but we will definitely feel the ripple effect for sure," Stone said.

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