SPOKANE, Wash. - While many are still recovering from Bloomsday, Spokane businesses are still cashing in. Many are gearing up for a big payoff in the years to come.
This past weekend, hotels like the Red Lion Inn at the Park were completely booked.
"We were sold out, and quite a bit in advance. It was just a tremendous weekend," said General Manager Michael Fear.
The Onion Restaurant downtown was packed as well.
"It never stopped. It was quite a bit busier, I think, even than last year," said Jacky Roberg.
It was busier than last year, and more profitable. According to estimates from Visit Spokane, Bloomsday brought in about $1.6 million more this year than last year. A key factor was more hotel rooms were booked.
Everyone is looking forward to Hoopfest.
"Bloomsday will slow down about three o'clock. Hoopfest on the Saturday and Sunday stay busy all the way until eight or nine at night," Roberg said.
Projected numbers from Visit Spokane, show Hoopfest could net $38.7 million for the local economy.
Visit Spokane President Cheryl Kilday says 2013 was a flat year, but 2014 could be better. Still the economic peak, like the top of Doomsday Hill, is so close to the payoff.
"It'll take about 3-5 years to really ramp up to what type of potential the community has with the expansion of the Convention Center and the new hotel but we're well on our way. Lots of interest. Lots of sales lead activity," Kilday said.
The Convention Center expansion is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The hotel across the street from it is on pace to be ready by this time next year. Both, set to help the Spokane economy sprint into the future.
"The sales process, from the time you interest someone in Spokane to the time they book it can be 3-5 years. If you miss the window for when they're looking at the northwest, you have to wait until that cycle starts again," Kilday said.
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