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.