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

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KGO) — The Capitola Village businesses are considered the life blood of the city of Capitola, and the summer time is businesses most critical time of year.

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

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

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

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

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

“Any old building on the ocean, you peel something off and all of the sudden, you find something more,” Pizza My Heart Owner Chuck Hammers said. “So, a lot of the stucco on the front was cracked and we ended up having to peel almost all of it off. We’re really racing to try and get open for Saturday morning.”

Hammers says even after months of repair following catastrophic damage to these businesses due to the January storm, the work still continues.

He 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 any way they can.

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

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

What the businesses need now, is funding and that falls on 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 received no money.

“FEMA goes mostly to residential,” Hammers said. “So, FEMA steered everyone to the Small Business Association and it’s just been a slog. None of these businesses have been able to get a SBA loan yet.”

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

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

“This summer is absolutely critical,” Hammers said. “I think everybody here is on edge because they’ve been down for five months and put a ton of money into it. But hey, come on down. It’s going to be a beautiful weekend and a beautiful summer and don’t forget about us. Capitola is a fun place to be.”

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