For the next several weeks, light rail ticket holders can enjoy discounts in the Columbia City business district. Coffee houses, cafes and boutiques near the new Sound Transit Link light-rail stops are offering free desserts, $1 off on sandwiches and 10 percent discounts on dresses when you show your light-rail ticket in their stores. Your Orca or FlexPass works, too.
“It’s a dollar off if you show us you rode the train down here to have lunch,” said the Ale House’s Eric Weakland.
The trains have only been rolling for a few weeks, but some businesses are already getting a bump in business. The recession, no doubt, has hurt sales. And chambers of commerce and mom-and-pop store owners near the light-rail stations see those riders as potential customers. Even large businesses were affected. For example, the future of the Safeway store near the Rainier Valley’s Othello station had been uncertain. Now that light rail has arrived, Safeway is investing in that store with $3 million in upgrades. A spokesperson for Safeway says the company believes light rail will be good for business.
“You’re seeing more people that are with maps and with brochures and you can tell that they are tourists to Columbia City; people visiting for the first time,” said Shelley Morrison with the Columbia City Business Association.
The Columbia City business community’s marketing efforts are funded by the Office of Economic Development through the Neighborhood Business District funding awards.