By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With the Sacramento Kings’ season over, business owners near the team’s new home at the Golden 1 Center and near their old home at Sleep Train Arena are taking stock of what a difference a year makes.

The Kings wrapped up their first season outside of Natomas, and it’s left John Cook feeling a pinch. He opened Malabar 10 years ago because it was close to the Kings’ home court.

“The economy was booming, I thought it was a can’t miss,” he said.

Now the Kings have left and his restaurant has lost 10 percent of its sales.

“In the restaurant business, that’s your profit margin if you’re lucky,” he said. “We’ve done a few things like made our menu a little easier to work with, less prep hours. Of course, we’re always watching the labor tightly, but even more important now.”

What had been a slam dunk for Malabar has instead been passed downtown to businesses like Pizza Rock.

“We’ve probably seen a 25 percent increase in our revenue,” said owner John Demma. “It could take a slower night like an early weeknight, and I’ve had my dinner sales double.”

The restaurant just a few blocked from the Golden 1 Center has even stopped taking reservations.

“Taking reservations actually worked against me, because I’m holding tables, meanwhile I’ve got a line out the door,” he said.

The Sacramento Downtown Partnership says foot traffic near Golden 1 Center grew by more than 50 percent during the NBA season. That also includes crowds from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which came to Sacramento for the first time in a decade.

But in Natomas, they’re still waiting to find out what will replace Sleep Train Arena.

  1. re: “find out what will replace Sleep Train Arena.”

    a. Grow pot there. Retrofit additional floors inside Arco, or tear it down and build new. Build additional greenhouses, warehouses on surrounding land.
    b. State prison. The state is still dealing with its court-imposed capacity limits. They can always use a new prison.
    c. I.C.E. detention center for illegals. Another growth business!

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