MALIBU (CBSLA) — Malibu has been through a lot.
Beyond the mudslides and burn scar, Malibu is struggling.
As KCAL9’s Laurie Perez reports businesses there are facing massive declines — and some experts say it could be years before the area recovers.
She spoke to several business owners Friday evening to find out how they are coping.
The normally postcard picture perfect Malibu has been anything but the last few months. Battered by raging wildfires in November and most-recently rain pounding the burn area leaving the streets flooded and a muddy mess.
“There’s nobody coming to Malibu right now,” says Mayor Jefferson Wagner.
Those are not words the mayor of Malibu — or any city — wants to put out there.
“But I kinda tell it like it is and business is down,” Wagner says.
He sees it as his own shop — Zuma Jay’s on the PCH. He says he hasn’t had to restock his shelves in a month and revenue is down 40 percent from this same time a year ago.
At city hall, he says tax receipts are also diminished.
“Our biggest resource here in the city of Malibu for income is property tax, right after that are sales tax. Until it becomes full summer and there are no clouds and the water isn’t dirty, we’re gonna see these numbers drop,” Wagner says.
Businesses that were able to make it through the fires are struggling now to stay open as people either think all of Malibu burned or is blocked by mudslides.
At Spruzzo restaurant, they say they also lost their local customer base — 600 homes in the immediate area were wiped out. That was a lot of steady customers.
“One day you wake up and your whole world changed so it’s been a tough experience,” says manager Ryan Gowhari.
He said business is down at least 15 percent from last year and a full recovery is a long way off.
“It’s gonna be years and years. It’s a visible difference. We’ve cut labor in every which way we can to try and maintain some stability here,” Gowhari says.
For now, businesses are trying to spread the word. They are open for business.
“We would love everyone to get back into Malibu,” Gowhari says.
“Malibu is open.” says the mayor.
Perez says it’s reached the point where businesses are offering incredible deals and incentives. At Paradise Cove, right now, minus taxes and alcohol, whatever you spend will be given back in a gift card to use at a later date.