Survival for businesses hinges on their customers’ ability to reach them, a challenge that has plagued business owners in Topanga since March. The aftermath of a powerful storm that struck the hillside of Topanga Canyon has left businesses teetering on the edge. The storm’s deluge triggered a massive landslide, closing Route 27 to travelers. To aid these struggling businesses, LA County has unveiled a new program to support small business owners grappling with the prolonged closure of Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

Under the auspices of LA County Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath and the administration of LA County’s Department of Economic Opportunity, Topanga business owners can now access the Topanga Canyon Business Interruption Fund (BIF). This new initiative, designed to assist qualifying businesses reeling from the landslide’s detrimental impacts, offers a lifeline to those experiencing a loss of customer support and business revenue. 

According to Horvath, the county asked Topanga business owners, “What do you actually need? And so this financial assistance is something that they said would make the difference.” Horvath further shared, “I know people are trying to figure out how they keep staff on through this time and how they are able to prepare. A couple months is different than a year.” Helping make a difference, qualifying businesses impacted by the Topanga Canyon road closure can receive grant awards of up to $10,000 from the new initiative. 

Topanga Canyon Boulevard is typically used by tens of thousands of daily travelers who commute between the coast and the San Fernando Valley. This road closure has resulted in a significant drop in people passing through the unincorporated town. Enrico Busto, who owns a custom hat shop in Topanga, stated, “I mean, like, we are 50% down since the closure. So, you know, it’s been like a few months, but we roll up our sleeves and start working. So, we funded this nonprofit called Visit Topanga Canyon. So we are bringing all the businesses together and try to, you know, organize something.”

AD 4nXfk4dYgKndKkTyKowyIoz583k2vEa kkta1 6P

Busto and others have helped organize an event called “Second Saturday,” which invites people from all over to visit and shop in Topanga. Busto commented, “Every second Saturday of each month we organize music all over Topanga. There are like four or five different concerts and activities and a play area for the kids and, you know, card reading and, you know, all the fun stuff that Topanga has to offer with all the artists and the musicians we have in the area.”

While many Topanga business owners are still trying to recover from the aftermath of the March landslide, Second Saturday aims to attract more people to the town, with the new initiative providing a boost for qualifying businesses to get back on their feet. 

The governor’s office announced this past Friday that Topanga Canyon Boulevard reopened Sunday, three months ahead of its fall schedule. Governor Gavin Newson stated in a social media post, “I just want to thank the men and women of Caltrans for working overtime to get this done.” Surely, the business owners of Topanga can remain hopeful that state efforts have their back.