Capitola Village businesses hope for a busy Memorial Day weekend, summer after a rocky start to 2023

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KGO) — Businesses in Capitola Village are considered the lifeblood of the city of Capitola, and daylight saving time is the most critical time of year for business.

But this summer is even more important after months of closures due to devastating winter storms.

After five tough months, Capitola is gearing up for what they hope will be a busy Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s pretty much the start of summer for us here,” said Santa Cruz resident Melody Venes. “It’s really nice to see Zelda back up and running again. I’m just glad things are starting to get back to normal.”

Starting to, but still not quite normal here at the Village.

VIDEO: Storm damage: Here’s a before and after look at the hardest hit areas in Capitola, Santa Cruz

“Any old building on the ocean, you take something away and all of a sudden you find something more,” said Pizza My Heart owner Chuck Hammers. “So a lot of the stucco out front was cracked and we ended up having to remove almost everything. We’re really racing to try to open Saturday morning.”

Hammers says that even after months of repairs following the catastrophic damage to those businesses due to the January storm, work is still continuing.

It hopes to reopen again this weekend while others are still weeks to a month away.

City Manager Jamie Goldstein told us the city has been working with businesses from the beginning to help them in any way possible.

“We’ve had weekly meetings with businesses to help them navigate the recovery process to get the permits they need to rebuild and open,” Goldstein said.

MORE: Almost all businesses in Capitola Village reopen after storms despite no government help

What businesses need now is funding and that falls to the state and federal government.

But even after promises from Governor Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden when they visited town in January, these restaurants have received no money.

“FEMA is primarily going residential,” Hammers said. “So FEMA directed everyone to the Small Business Association and it’s been nothing but hard work. None of these companies have been able to get an SBA loan yet.”

These owners know that Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer season.

So they hope the crowd will help bring Capitola Village back to life and potentially save some of these businesses.

“This summer is absolutely critical,” Hammers said. “I think everyone here is on edge because they’ve been down for five months and have put a ton of money into it. But hey, go ahead. It’s going to be a great weekend and a great summer and don’t forget Capitola is a great place to live.”

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