Businesses see boost from airshow

Published 1:23 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The approximately 8,000 people who attended Saturday’s South Alabama Airshow had a positive impact on the local economy, local business mangers say.

Airshow organizer and South Alabama Regional Airport Executive Director Jed Blackwell said that 10 to 20 percent of the 8,000 people who showed up to the show spent money in Covington County.

“These are the people that come in and eat at our restaurants, put gas at our gas stations, stay at our hotels and shop at our stores while they are here,” Blackwell said. “It was definitely an economic boom.”

The vendors who were selling items at the airshow did fairly well, Blackwell said.

“We had a couple that didn’t do as hot as they wanted to, but that was mostly people selling ice cream or shaved ice,” Blackwell said. “Most of them did as well as they expected though.”

Holiday Inn Express manager Kim Jenkins said that the facility was completely full Friday and Saturday night.

“About 28 rooms were only airshow people,” Jenkins said. “We had people from a couple hours in every direction, from as far east as Dothan, to as far north as Montgomery.”

Jenkins believes that these types of events definitely increase business in Covington County.

“It absolutely helps,” Jenkins said. “We had a lot of pilots that stayed with us as well. When events like this happen, it definitely makes an impact on our local economy.”

Marathon gas stations owner Roy Mohon said that the store that was hit the busiest was the one by Sanford Road.

“It is hard to tell if the other stores were affected by the airshow,” Mohon said. “But since that store was closer it definitely got some business. I would there was a 15 to 20 percent bump in sales from that store.”

Blackwell said that they achieved both of the goals that were set before the airshow this weekend.

“We gave the people of Covington County some entertainment for the weekend and we attracted people to Covington County,” Blackwell said. “Those are the two goals we set, and I think we accomplished them.”