COLORADO SPRINGS — The Switchback's grand home opener is happening Friday evening at Weidner Field in downtown Colorado Springs. While the stadium is getting ready to welcome thousands of fans, nearby businesses are also getting ready for more customers.
One of the businesses is The Warehouse Restaurant which is next door to the stadium.
"We are super excited to have this big stadium next door, the new neighbors," said James Africano, chef owner of the restaurant. "For some of the small events that have already been held, the foot traffic has really been amazing. and even on non-event days, people looking at the art installations and bringing business here."
Africano says despite the construction the restaurant faced daily, there's been more foot traffic and vehicle traffic since the stadium opened.
"The neighborhood has really changed and the stadium has been a big driver behind that, with the people that are walking around, the number of cars driving through, and not just driving by," said Africano. "We get to see all of that come into fruition today, with hopefully a great crowd next door, and some of those coming to visit us at the restaurant."
Africano also mentioned the parking lot at the restaurant is small, but he's going to do what he can to make sure spots are saved for his customers.
Just a few blocks away on Tejon, you'll find the head chef of The Exchange, Cory McNeil. He said there's also been more traffic in the downtown area since Weidner Field broke ground in 2019, since the Olympic museum opened, and plus the addition of new restaurants in businesses,
"With all the new additions in the area, it seems to really be doing a good job of bringing people to the downtown area," said McNeil. "We're really looking forward to getting more foot traffic in the area."
Staff at The Exchange are also getting ready for more customers before and after events at the stadium.
"People are coming in to eat, grabbing snacks, maybe a drink before the game, and also, we're looking for opportunities after the game, to expand our business there."
The stadium is designed for soccer with a capacity of 8,000 fans, but Weidner Field will also be hosting events and concerts with a capacity up to 15,000 people.
Concerts and shows are already getting scheduled for the rest of summer. The Star Festival is taking next Friday, and there is also a concert taking place next Saturday. Stadium capacity will be limited to 50% and people are required to wear masks while watching...