Upcoming Best of Broadway season expected to add $16.5 million to Spokane economy

There is a lot of anticipation for Monday’s Best of Broadway announcement of the 2018-2019 season line-up. Possibly no one more excited than the local business, though.

Bob Aldred of Tomato Street said, “it impacts us. We get people who come and want to make an event out of it.”

Aldred and many other businesses say you don’t need to be a season ticket holder, or look for a big sign to know when a Best of Broadway show is in town.The amount of people staying in our hotels, shopping in our stores, and eating at our restaurants increases dramatically.

At the downtown Tomato Street location, situated just blocks from the INB Performing Arts Center, a weekend show increases sales by 10 to 15 percent.

Aldred credits part of the reason for the high numbers to the restaurant’s unique set-up.

“We are able to take big groups and we are fast and we can get people in and out and on their way,” said Aldred.

WestCoast Entertainment is the group responsible for bringing Broadway to the Lilac City.

“Next season I’m projecting will do about $5.5 million dollars in tickets so the economic impact will be about $16.5 million dollars on the economy here,” said WestCoast Entertainment President Jack Lucas.

But, as it turns out, impacts are felt beyond the city limits. When ticket-holders make their way into town, Spokane Valley’s Latah Creek Winery signs are among the first things they see.

“I know for a fact it is getting people in to town and spending money,” said Latah Creek Winery owner Mike Conway.

The exposure does wonders for the family-owned winery.

“We can track specific weekends and we know what our normal sales are, but we hit a Best of Broadway weekend and we double or triple our sales,” he added.

Out of town guests from places like Montana and Canada become loyal followers of these businesses, returning for meals at restaurants and getting their favorite wine delivered to their door when they can’t make it each season.

“We’ve had 2.8 million people walk through the front doors of the INB Performing Arts Center here, if you look at that economic impact, it’s over the top. It’s phenomenal,” added Lucas.