Mudslide Recovery

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   February 8, 2018
First responders eating dinner at Lucky’s

After receiving clearance from Montecito Water District that the boil-water notice was lifted in the majority of Montecito, most businesses and restaurants in the upper and lower villages were back in business over the weekend, marking another milestone in the recovery process. 

Los Arroyos reopened its doors on February 2, despite the lack of internet service. Other businesses including Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Montecito Deli also reopened late last week. Lucky’s and Oliver’s reopened February 5, and Jeannine’s Bakery is expected to open this week, after undergoing some renovations. Alison Hardy, owner of Jeannine’s, has been offering free lunch, coffee, and pastries (prepared in her downtown location) for the last two weeks, making the bakery patio a sort of meeting place for volunteers, Red Cross personnel, and regular customers. Hardy has also been donating lunches to the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade and other volunteer organizations who are on the ground in Montecito, helping homeowners dig mud out of their homes.   

A number of different events are planned for this weekend, in an effort to raise funds for various causes and to bolster business in Montecito. Guaranteed Rate, one of the nation’s largest retail mortgage lenders, will host a Cash Mob event on Saturday, February 10, to support local businesses on Coast Village Road. According to organizer Jeff Bochsler, a Cash Mob occurs when a group of people assemble to make purchases at locally owned and operated businesses in support of the community. The event is co-sponsored by the Coast Village Association. 

“With the recent natural disasters impacting South Santa Barbara County, we’re thrilled to bring people together to support the local businesses affected. It’s incredibly important for us to offer a grassroots stimulus package to the community where we live and work, ” said Bochsler, branch manager for Guaranteed Rate. “A cash mob is a fun and exciting way to bring people together,” says associate vice president of Mortgage Lending, Christian Menard, who has been traversing the street garnering participation from business owners. “We encourage people to bring their friends and families out for a great afternoon with a positive impact.”

Participating retailers from Montecito Country Mart to the east end of Coast Village Road are excited to welcome back shoppers and turn inventory by offering Cash Mob shoppers significant discounts, refreshments, live music, live painting demonstrations, dog treats, and even free dance lessons. According to Sharon Byrne, executive director of the Coast Village Association, Coast Village merchants are excited about the Cash Mob and are rolling out the red carpet to welcome Mob attendees. Allora by Laura is serving champagne, while the Coast Village Walk is serving free wood-fired pizza and hosting live music and free dance lessons. 

Montecito Inn, which has been shining a blue light in the sky to commemorate the victims of the Montecito mudslides, will be a participant in the Coast Village Cash Mob on Saturday

Most merchants are running steep discounts for the event, up to 70 percent off. Compass is offering wine tastings and free dog treats. The Honor Bar will be giving out warm cookies. “There will be something for everyone to enjoy!” Byrne said. Even businesses that have not yet reopened are taking part: Montecito Inn, which is expected to open in the next two weeks, will be selling merchandise and gift certificates outside the hotel. 

A free raffle will kick off the event, with $2,500 of local gift cards donated by local Cal Fire attorney Alicia Journey, who was personally affected by the slide; she lost her home and her car was washed onto Butterfly Beach. The Cash Mob will commence in the Montecito Bank & Trust and Sotheby’s parking lot, located at 1106 Coast Village Road, at 2:30 pm. Participants will be encouraged to shop at local businesses along Coast Village Road until 6 pm, and then enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants. A list of locally owned, participating businesses and eateries will be available prior to the event and will be posted on the Facebook event page “Coast Village Road Cash Mob.”  Easy Lift, a local nonprofit, will be offering shuttle services up and down the street to aid those with difficulty walking. 

“We think this is a perfect opportunity for our business district to welcome shoppers back into their stores,” said Byrne. Shoppers are encouraged to carpool, given the excess traffic in the area. Organizers tell us that if the event is a success, they will plan another event to benefit the businesses of the upper village. 

Also that day, Physical Focus on Hot Springs Road is hosting a free community concert with food and drink donated by local businesses. “We want to bring a little joy back to our community, because we all need to smile a little!” said owner Michael Allison. Any donations earned at the event will go to local schools. Physical Focus is located at 140 Hot Springs Road; the event in Saturday, February 10, from noon to 4 pm. 

The following day, on Sunday February 11, a fundraiser will be held at Oreana Winery in the Funk Zone, to benefit people and pets affected by the mudslide. Hosted by Advanced Veterinary Specialists (AVS), the benefit will give attendees to the opportunity to taste Oreana’s wines, enjoy live music, and visit with some of the Search and Rescue dogs that have been so hard at work the past few weeks. Funds will be raised by community donations, a local raffle, and Oreana, and additionally, AVS will match funds raised in a donation of their own to further support recovery efforts. Funds will be used to aid the people and animals affected by the recent fires and mudslides in Santa Barbara and Montecito through the Ellen DeGeneres Montecito Disaster Fund. 

“We have all been directly or indirectly affected by the events of the past few months; we knew we needed to do as much as we could to help. By combining a fundraiser with a community-based event, we hope to provide everyone with an opportunity to come together, heal, and raise much-needed funds,” said AVS owner Dr. Andrea Wells.

The fundraiser will take place Sunday, February 11, from noon to 4 pm, at Oreana Winery, 205 Anacapa Street. This event is open to the public and pets are welcome (and encouraged). For more information, or if you own a business that would like to support the event, please contact Jayme Mechur,


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