A power outage that struck parts of downtown Santa Barbara on Monday disrupted commerce for some businesses, but others found ways to carry on.
More than 400 Southern California Edison customers lost electricity at around 1:30p.m. in an outage affecting parts of Figueroa, State, Santa Barbara, Chapala and Anapamu streets.
Many businesses, including the Starbucks at State and Victoria streets, Quiznos, and other food and beverage vendors, had no choice but to close for the remainder of the day, as power did not return to some locations for 12 hours after the outage.
Traffic lights were dark along the stretch of road above Figueroa Street and traffic moved cautiously through the State and Victoria intersection.
By early evening, all but a dozen customers had their electricity back. Edison officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday on the cause of the outage.
““I saw the guy who did it!“ exclaimed one store employee who wished to remain anonymous. “This old man punched his BMW into a power supply. He looked really sorry about it.”
While several store owners sat guard outside their shops in the strong afternoon heat, others resumed business as usual through a combination of spirit and resourcefulness.
“We just got creative and made it happen,” said Natasha Airido of Natasha: Contemporary Women’s Clothing, smiling and holding up an outdated calculator. “I know a lot of people who closed. We worked with a lot of old technology and made it happen.”
Airido said she continued to accept credit cards using an imprinter, and later communicated with MasterCard to get the payments processed.
Such optimism was not experienced by at least one local business, however, as Santa Barbara’s iconic SOhO Restaurant & Music Club waited anxiously for power to return before a 7:30 p.m. performance by singer Shawn Thies.
“I said to myself, if it doesn’t come on by 6:30 we are closing,” owner Gail Hansen said. “We hadn’t done a sound check or anything — it was crazy.”
For SOhO, at least, power was restored by 6:15 p.m. and the show went on — fully charged.
Others affected by the outage included the Santa Barbara Unified School District, which lost its phone service Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, according to Superintendent Dave Cash.