Rachel Lerman, Puget Sound Business Journal
The Tulalip Resort and Casino and The Outlet Shoppes at Burlington, two of the biggest tourism and retail destinations in northwestern Washington, scrambled to spread the word of alternate driving routes and hoped for the best as they headed into the Memorial Day weekend knowing I-5 had been severed by the Skagit River bridge collapse.
“It’s gonna impact us to a degree out of Canada for sure,” said Ken Kettler, president and chief operating officer of the Tulalip Resort and Casino.
Kettler said 20 percent of the resort’s business – excluding the casino – comes out of Canada, but most of the casino business comes from Marysville, Everett and Seattle, areas that still have access to the Tulalip, albeit a route that could be clogged with traffic now.
The resort is using social media to make sure people have directions for alternate routes, Kettler said, and it may have to increase marketing in areas to the south if the northward impact grows bigger than they expect.
At The Outlet Shoppes at Burlington, Memorial Day is the kickoff to the summer shopping season, and the first of three major sales during the summer.
Mall managers are working with the Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce to help inform and reassure potential customers. Canadians should know that they can drive to the mall without passing the bridge collapse, which is south of the mall, said Gina Slechta, vice president of marketing for Horizon Group Properties, which owns the mall. And people in Mt. Vernon and surrounding areas can take alternate routes, Slechta said.