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

Amanda del Castillo Image
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Focus on recovery, return to business in Santa Cruz County
Across Santa Cruz County, the focus is on recovery and the reopening of businesses after recent storms tore through oceanside properties.

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KGO) -- Across Santa Cruz County, the focus is on recovery and the reopening of businesses after recent storms tore through oceanside properties and left others in the dark for days.

Even with more rain ahead, many in the hardest-hit coastal towns are asking visitors to come, shop and support.

On Friday night, the band playing at Cork and Fork Capitola sang, "This is my business! Business is good!" Lyrics many across Capitola Village hope soon ring true.

While fewer people were in town, it brought a welcomed sight.

MORE: High surf warning prompts evacuation warnings along Santa Cruz County coast

However, owner Cathy Bently admitted, "It feels like whiplash. Feels like you can't catch your breath."

Bently was describing battling weeks of bad weather after years under the pandemic. Still, she wants to make a difference. Bently is raising money for the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund and has established a home for those who relied on businesses that were hardest hit.

"This is gonna make me cry," she told ABC7 News. "A lot of the musicians that play here, play over there. So, I feel a sense of responsibility to help and provide a venue where people can come."

The overall goal, get people to come. Many feel there's a misconception the village is shut down after seeing waterfront properties with severe damage. However, a posted sign read loud and clear, "Capitola Village is open."

VIDEO: Storm damage: Here's before-and-after look at hardest-hit areas in Capitola, Santa Cruz

One of the hardest-hit areas from the devastating bomb cyclone was the Santa Cruz County coastline. Here's a before and after look at the region.

"We had a BIA business meeting this morning with a lot of business owners and that was really touching just to like, touch base with everybody and make sure everybody was okay," Monet Salon Capitola owner, Julie Monet said. "And where do we go from here."

Katalina's by the Sea owner, Kathleen French added, "As a business owner, you don't see this too often. A lot of times, you might be in corporate, or very spread out. This village is very tight knit and we're all friends here. And it's incredible the relationships that we're building."

On Friday, French grabbed a mic and a karaoke machine and made her way through the village, visiting shops that have since reopened.

Over in Aptos, recovery is an effort being taken on in-part by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. They've launched a fund, focused on the long-term support of iconic Seacliff State Beach.

MORE: Storm cleanup, concern in Santa Cruz County as beach towns brace for more rain

Storm cleanup is underway in Santa Cruz County as beach towns of Capitola and Aptos brace for more rain.

"The devastation has been incredible, but it's continuing," executive drector of Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Bonny Hawley told ABC7 News. "The storms just keep coming. So, it's early days right now in terms of knowing what the price tag is going to be to fix this park. But we want to be there and give the community a way to support that over time."

The determination from those who have suffered so much across Santa Cruz County, only highlights the community's unwavering resilience.

"I have seen people truly come together who are experiencing their own devastation and tragedy through this storm, and even still through COVID," Shannon Myers with Katalina's by the Sea described. "And just come up to other people, 'Hey! How are you doing? What do you need? How can I help?'"

To visit the fundraising effort for Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, click here.

To visit the fundraising effort for the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund, click here.

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