SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Step inside Cilantro’s Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Sacramento and you won’t find owner Hugo Cervantes concerned about his daily menu. He has his eyes on the calendar that he says holds the key ingredient to his future.
“The hardest part, I think, has been right now,” he said, “just waiting. When is it going to happen?”
It’s the calm before the storm for Downtown Sacramento business owners like Cervantes that are in the bullseye of a planned Sacramento Kings arena.
City officials say construction should begin within the next two weeks, and a Kings spokesman says just 24-48 hours notice will be given before it begins.
Businesses like his and the Subway sandwich shop next door are gearing up for the gridlock and potential loss of income.
As Cervantes waits for the building to begin, he’s been busy constructing a plan. He has fliers ready for his new target crowd—men and women in hardhats
“We’re just hoping we get a lot of construction workers that have a good appetite,” he said.
Daily specials and free coffee will also be offered up, and new hours to accommodate construction crews are not out of the question.
Another one of his business neighbors has taken a more traditional approach. Now showing on the Century Theaters marquee is a friendly reminder the theater will still be open during construction.
But not every business has that luxury, so we wanted to know how the city is helping businesses get the word out.
“We’ve been coordinating for several months with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, as well as the owners of the Downtown Plaza,” said spokeswoman Linda Tucker. “And one of our big messages has always been that they are open for business.”
Weekly meetings between the city and business owners have also helped spread the word.
But for Cervantes, his plans to use creativity to cash-in on the chaos are already well off the ground.