As the raging debate about the KED continues, there are a number of ways Downtown Sudbury businesses that depend on the arena can thrive once the KED is built.
In all the rage about whether an arena should stay downtown or be moved, the one thing that hasn’t been debated, publicly anyway, is what can these restaurants and bars do to attract patrons once the arena does move.
The Sudbury Community Arena, which is located in Downtown Sudbury right now is almost certainly going to move about a 12-15 minute drive up the Kingsway away. When this happens part of the debate has been that the downtown businesses will suffer tremendously with its exit.
There might be some concern for this and it’s obviously understandable that you would have the concern if you owned a restaurant in the downtown. However, there are things that can be done to help attract those very same customers that are going now and maybe even attract new ones.
Ever since the proposal of the Kingsway Entertainment District has come to light, we have had a huge discussion on how that will affect downtown. One discussion we haven’t had is how the Downtown Sudbury businesses can adapt to the change.
There are certain things that can be done by these businesses to help them evolve and strive in a post-downtown arena setting. We decided to highlight 5 of the most obvious ways these downtown restaurants and bars can pivot to make sure they not only survive, but strive when the arena is moved.
5 Things Downtown Sudbury Bars & Restaurants Can Do When The KED Is Built
Provide Shuttle Service
This isn’t a new idea. If you are someone who goes to events in Downtown Toronto or even events in Ottawa, you may be familiar with this. What happens here is restaurants and bars provide package services that you can dine in groups at the establishment and be provided a shuttle service to and from the arena. The beauty about this one is that you aren’t only snagging the customer before the game, but after as well.
Televise The Event
This may not work if you are a finer dining restaurant downtown, but for a sports bar it could. The reality is that for concerts and whatever you won’t get the television rights to the venue, but for basketball, hockey or any other you have a chance. Should the games be televised on Eastlink you can sit in the bar and watch while having drinks with your buddies. If you already do this now then there is a good chance you can do it then.
Create A Unique Experience
This may be easier said than done. However, Downtown Sudbury has an association that can help with that. These business can work with the BIA to help creating a festival or outdoor attractions to help bring people downtown before or after the game. Once the game is being played it doesn’t matter if the arena is downtown or not because you wouldn’t have those people in the restaurants as it is. Another benefit to this is that once the people leave downtown to go to the game there will be ample parking for those who otherwise wouldn’t have a parking spot downtown.
Hold Post Game Parties
Hold post game parties. It’s no secret that after a game those people with kids are going home anyways. So what happens with the others? Well, combining the visitors to the newer downtown amenities coming on line, bars and restaurants can have post game parties. With the case of basketball, you could even have players show up and give them the Sudbury Saturday Night experience.
Cater Food To The KED
If you really have confidence in your ability to provide food then this one could be a slam dunk. Any one of the restaurants could approach the owners and provide catering to the arena and or the guests. By catering to the arena you can still sell what you sell, food. Many people are going to be expecting this arena have many different options that are available in other arenas such as dining. Wouldn’t it be nice to go to an arena on the Kingsway and have your favourite pizza from the Buddha or a burger from the Townehouse while watching the game? Even Sudbury’s most famous Dog House Wings could be made available.
Instead of fighting progress it might be an opportunity for some of these places to expand their business and to cater to those who otherwise will rarely go downtown.