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Lompoc businesses welcome boost in sales during Vandenberg launches

VAFB launch.JPG
Posted at 7:10 PM, Apr 15, 2022

Regular launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base are benefiting local businesses.

"Where else can you go in the country where you just happen to see a missile go up into space?” asked Michael Sewall, co-owner of Alfie’s Fish & Chips in Lompoc. “That's pretty awesome."

Local businesses say they prepare for added business during launches.

"It's been great. Any launch day we've really increased in numbers, we try to make sure we have enough staff here,” sad Halle Bedford Dyer, owner of Southside Coffee Company.

She says sales were up significantly Friday morning, likely due to the postponement of the SpaceX launch.

Other businesses are also seeing more customers.

"Generally, if we have any launches in town, we have a big rush. Usually thousands of people come into town that aren't usually here, whether it's actually for the launch or to watch the launch,” Sewall said.

Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne says over the past couple of years, the launches have continued but there haven't been as many as there are now with at least one launch happening each month.

"As a result, you do see an influx of tourists for those and sometimes they are here for several days because, like the launch that was supposed to happen this morning, they get delayed,” Osborne said.

Aside from restaurants, hotels also bring in revenue for the city.

"We do receive hotel tax for visitors staying in our hotels, so that's always helpful. It's a revenue that comes in and visitors leave behind,” Osborne said.

She adds that the revenue can then be used to improve city parks, streets and libraries.