‘A bright future’: Local businesses receive boost from SkyFest’s return

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — SkyFest’s return to the Inland Northwest helped local businesses with a much-needed economic boost as community events make a comeback.

It’s the first time SkyFest was at Fairchild Air Force Base since 2019. Local business owners couldn’t be more thankful to see thousands of people flock to Airway Heights.

While spectators searched the skies for planes, small business owners had their eyes on a different silver lining.

“They’re out and about and enjoying meals and coming to restaurants,” said Star Cisneros. She owns Teriyaki Spice which opened just a few months ago off Highway 2 in Airway Heights.

“I see nothing but a bright future. There’s major casinos in the neighborhood, new businesses starting up here all the time. It seems to be growing.” said Dale Divish. He’s another new small business owner who recently opened a collectible and furnishing store called World Famous Stuff, also just off Highway 2.

Seeing all the growth in the West Plains inspired Divish to open his new business just last month. Watching people flock to SkyFest reassured him of the new beginning.

“The business seems to be growing from when I started in April till now,” he added.

The same growth rings true at Teriyaki Spice. Lots of foot traffic meant lots of hungry customers coming in throughout the weekend.

Cisneros says “afterwards was when we got super busy.”

As a restaurant owners, she couldn’t make it out to the base because of the rushes, but she sure is thankful to be busy after the pandemic.

“It’s been nice that after everything, with COVID and everything, people are still coming out and enjoying these public events and coming out to eat at restaurants like us,” she added.

SkyFest may have been free for everyone to attend, but these businesses saw a big payoff from the weekend they’re taking into the future.

“I like small towns, and Airway Heights is a small town that seems to be growing,” said Divish.

“It’s nice for us as small business owners,” Cisneros concluded.

Both of these owners are thankful to have started new businesses in the West Plains. They see the area growing tremendously in the future and are proud to be part of the local economy.

PHOTOS: SkyFest 2022