Storm Recovery

Community's Generosity Helps Capitola Business Owners with Disaster Grants

Feb 1, 2023

Photo: Kevin Painchaud/Lookout

In partnership with the Capitola Business Improvement Association (BIA), the Community Foundation issued $100,000 in small business grants to food service businesses experiencing closure and losses due to the storms. In all, 22 grants were provided to Capitola restaurants with funds ranging from $500 - $10,000. Grants were made possible thanks to generous donations by local families to the Disaster Fund.

“We know these grants will not be able to fill all needs of our local businesses, but we hope it gets them started on the path to recovery,” says Vicki Guinn, BIA Board Member, and realtor with David Lyng Real Estate.

Grants were available to Capitola food services businesses with physical damage needing repairs or replacement materials, loss of perishables, or support for payment of wages for employees not working.

“The Community Foundation can step in because of the generosity of people giving to our disaster fund. The grants are a way of wrapping our arms around these businesses to help them meet their most immediate needs. In addition, individuals who have lost their homes or employment in the storms can find assistance through family resource centers,” says Susan True, CEO of the Community Foundation.

In a disaster, the IRS allows nonprofits like the Community Foundation to provide aid to businesses for the charitable purposes of aiding individual business owners who are financially needy or otherwise distressed by the disaster.

“It’s been so tough,” says Dominick B. King, owner of My Thai Beach. His restaurant suffered extreme damage and in the coming months he’ll be working to redo the floor and subfloor, purchase new equipment, install new plumbing, redo electrical, and redo the walls. “But the community response has been so incredible. People have shown up with such kindness and generosity.”

Gabriela Castro, owner of Tacos Morenos 3 is overwhelmed by the mountain of work in front of her including overall repairs, assessments from engineers, and getting city approval after structural damage inspections. “This grant is a huge help,” she says, “because the bills don’t stop”.

Jeff Lantis, owner of the Sand Bar in Capitola says that every little bit of support helps. The storms destroyed every floor, all their appliances, and the entire inventory. “The storm has passed, and the sun is out. But we are still left with a long list of expenses that are not covered by insurance and deeply valued staff that are out of work.”

Since the Disaster Fund was activated in early January, nearly 550 families have donated over $1 million and $510,000 in grants have already been issued. More funding will be released soon and the Foundation continues to raise money to help with storm recovery.

“As families and small businesses dig out from the muck, the long recovery process is just beginning,” says True. “Grants from the Disaster Fund will continue to fill the gap in timing and eligibility for public disaster resources. State and federal aid will be essential for our long-term recovery. Our dollars will be smaller than public funds but fill a unique role in our ability to immediately respond and to serve folks.”