Breaking News
More () »

Lower Queen Anne businesses scramble to prepare for Climate Pledge Arena grand opening

The new Climate Pledge Arena officially opens Friday and holds more than 17,000 people. Businesses are preparing for an influx of customers during a hiring crisis.

SEATTLE — The new Climate Pledge Arena officially opens Friday and holds more than 17,000 people. The big question is, are Lower Queen Anne businesses ready for the crowds?

Key Arena closed three years ago then came the pandemic, which shut down public life around the area and forced many businesses to rethink how they operate.

Right now, Washington’s unemployment rate is improving at 4.9 percent.
While the hospitality industry has seen some of the biggest employment gains, bars and restaurants are still scrambling to prepare.             

Su Da Chom opened Cashew Thai Cuisine a few months ago, about a block from the Arena. It was a decision she admits took a lot of guts as some of her neighbors closed their doors for good during the pandemic.

“My friends and everybody was nervous and stressed me out like, did I make the wrong decision? But luckily this neighborhood is so nice to me. They’re really nice to me like, they want to try my food and then say, ‘welcome to the neighborhood,’” Chom explained.

Even before the Arena opened, it brought in customers to Chom’s restaurant in her first few months of operation.

“Before it officially opened – Climate Pledge – we do have a lot of the workers, people who were over there and come to eat at our restaurant, and it helps our business a lot. And then now we’re going to get more and more from the concerts and from the Kraken… yeah that is awesome. I love hockey,” she said.

Chom said the official opening of Climate Pledge Arena has her and her staff buzzing with anticipation, and unsure what to expect.

“We’re going to be really crowded, I noticed that I got a lot of phone calls to make a reservation on this Friday. I hope, hopefully, we can handle it, with all the staff we have with everything we have,” said Chom.

While “help wanted” signs fill windows due to the hiring crisis Chom turned to family to keep her staff levels adequate for what’s ahead.

“So, I have all of my family members come and help me. Like, my sister and her husband, my husband and his sister and everybody is going to help me on that day so, I am lucky,” she said, “I think I’m having good luck. This is my lucky year… cross my fingers.”

Her main concern now is running out of inventory because she’s unsure how many customers will walk through the door.

“If we run out of all of our inventory we’re going to be sold out and then that’s it, yeah. But hopefully, we prepare everything well!” she said.

Before You Leave, Check This Out