As Link light rail construction is underway in the heart of Stadium District, businesses along North 1st Street are experiencing the first week of road work that will continue for approximately four more months. Lane closures, “no parking” signs and such are making it a bit more challenging to find parking as some roadways are torn up for sewer work, but this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to move about the district. Everything is as accessible as it was before construction began and all businesses there will remain open throughout this phase of construction.
At Tease Chocolates (610 N. 1st St.), owners Topher and Julie Farrell are taking it a day at a time just like their fellow merchants in the neighborhood. Tease Chocolates’ days and hours of operation have not, and will not, change and inside the shop it’s business as usual to produce the best handmade chocolates, truffles, caramels, bars and more as Tease Chocolates has done for years. And there are parking spaces available in the lot at Stadium Thriftway, so it isn’t always necessary to drive around looking for a space on the street.
Topher admits, understandably, that it is still a stressful time.
“This neighborhood already has many challenges when it comes to parking and navigation. I hope that it goes well and finishes quickly,” he said of the construction project. “We’ve been talking to customers about this for months and many of them have said that they plan to continue coming to the neighborhood despite the construction, while a few others have stated that they plan to avoid the area unless it’s absolutely necessary for them to come here.
“It looks worse than it is. People should continue to come to the neighborhood.”
He said that the City of Tacoma has been communicative with Stadium businesses such that he and Julie feel informed about what will be happening construction-wise over the coming months. However, there still remains concern over how the construction will affect those who shop in Stadium District.
“My biggest fear is that we get a fraction of our walk-in business, which makes up more than 75 percent of all business for us,” Topher said. “We plan to start offering online ordering in the next two weeks. We may run some specials as well. It’s so early in the construction that we just don’t know what to expect yet.”
So far in this first week of construction, he characterizes business at Tease Chocolates as “sporadic,” with weekdays showing to be the slowest for business.
“We saw a 90 percent drop in our (weekday) walk-in traffic, but Saturday and Sunday were typical days. We have incredibly determined customers and it’ll take a lot to keep them away!”
For more information on Tease Chocolates and all their delicious confections, stop by the shop, call (253) 327-1860 or e-mail Julie@teasechocolates.com. The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.