Nearly all Capitola Village businesses reopen after storms despite no help from government

Dustin Dorsey Image
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Nearly all Capitola Village businesses reopen after storms
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Nearly all Capitola Village businesses have reopened after the devastating January storms, despite receiving no help from federal government.

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KGO) -- After one of our first storms of 2023 hammered the California Coast, the Town of Capitola has been hard at work to rebuild and reopen.

Spring break was always the goal and many businesses are excited to welcome tourists back to town. But the journey to get here has not been easy.

Reminders of January's devastating storm are still present as work to reopen continues for these businesses.

"We've got a big chunk of the wharf that came through and broke at least one of our walls," Zelda's at the Beach Kitchen Manager Joshua Whitby said. "We're hanging it up as one of the dividing, exposed headbeams in the dining room. It's going to be a nice, little remembrance. We're at the last, final hurrah. The weather hasn't been nice to us, but we're pushing."

Zelda's at the Beach along with My Thai Beach should begin business again next week.

MORE: 'Capitola Village is open': Focus on recovery, returning to business in hardest-hit coastal areas

Others, like The Sand Bar, are still months away.

A few have opened back up - like Pizza My Heart and Paradise Beach Grille. They are thankful to welcome in customers again.

"We worked really hard even to get back open in a limited capacity, so that we could get our people back to work and start serving the public again," Paradise Beach Grille Manager Sara Aluffi said. "We still have a really long way to go, but we're feeling really optimistic and we're excited."

Excited for the visitors no doubt, it has been quite a while since Capitola has been so busy this year.

Maybe the last time the town saw crowds similar to this was when President Joe Biden and Governor Gavin Newsom visited in January when they promised aid to the businesses.

VIDEO: President Biden visits Santa Cruz Co. towns damaged by storms

"The country is here for you and with you," President Biden said on Jan. 19, 2023. "We are not leaving until things are built back and built back better than they were before."

But in the months since President Biden waved goodbye to the town, these owners, managers and contractors say they haven't received any federal aid and the process to request it has been incredibly challenging.

"Why is this now three months later and these people that are suffering and they didn't get any money?" Construction "Boss" Daniel Ruhstorfer said. "Please, somebody help."

It has taken a lot of time, money and physical effort on the part of these businesses to get to this point.

But they say even without state or federal help, the support of the community has led to where they are today.

"I really want to open up," My Thai Beach Owner Dominick King said. "I want to say thank you. I want to welcome people back into my home and just keep serving Capitola."

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