Bothell Main Street businesses owners say they are finally starting to recover after business took a hit as the city redeveloped the downtown thoroughfare.
The Reporter has been covering Bothell’s Main Street businesses since a fire swept through several buildings during the summer of 2016 and during the city’s upgrades and reconstruction that started soon after. During that time many merchants on Main Street said the fire cleanup and construction had reduced the number of customers coming through their doors. The city finished work on most of Main Street last April, one year after it began, and many merchants said business is picking back up.
Karen Cho, of Hana Sushi, said business has been picking up since June and is almost back to normal. Many new customers are eating at the restaurant and she likes how the new, wider sidewalks look. During redevelopment, the city converted many angled parking spots into a fewer number of parallel spots.
“For now, there’s not a big problem,” Cho said of parking, but said it may be harder to find parking once the Mercantile Apartments are completed.
However, Bothell Jewelers and Collectibles owner Rachman Cantrell said the lack of parking has contributed to fewer people coming through his doors.
“A lot of people don’t know how to park in what they call the designated parking spots,” Cantrell said.
Selyn Boutique employee Stephanie Park said that since opening just over a year ago their business has been affected by construction. She said, like many other business owners, that business is starting to pick up and that they’re recovering from it.
Across the street at Harmony Massage, Julie and Kirk Bradley said their business has also been improving. Harmony Massage is both a boutique and massage clinic. The massage clinic didn’t see a drop in business, which the Bradley’s attribute to it being reservation-based. However, less pedestrians meant fewer people stopped into the boutique. They like the improvements the city made to the sidewalks, which they said has increased the number of people walking around downtown Bothell.
“Since it’s been done, it’s just been so much better,” Julie Bradley said.
Other business owners, like Rain City Wines’ Santo Roman said he’s seen no changes in business during or following construction.
The $5.8 million Bothell Main Street project was one of the city’s final pieces in its plan to revitalize the downtown core. It widened sidewalks to make them more walkable and to let businesses use the space out front for seating and displays. The street was also straightened out and work was done to modernize the underground utilities. Nearly $5 million of the total project cost came from the Washington state Transportation Improvement Board.
The roadwork was scheduled to be finished last November, but the project contractors were unable to find metal sleeves needed to cast concrete. Work on the road, curb and sidewalk couldn’t begin until bollard foundations using the metal sleeves were completed. This coupled with delays in underground utility work took longer than anticipated, pushing the project’s completion back five months.