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David Scharps can only describe the feeling one way: like an earthquake.
He was sleeping peacefully inside his Montecito home when his bedroom started shaking. Alone in the dark, he ran and looked outside to see boulders and mud racing down the creek bed at 60 mph.
“The house was shaking from the boulders,” Scharps said. “It came within 40 feet of my backyard.”
He grabbed his beloved Rhodesian ridgeback dogs, dashed to his car, and started driving, but didn’t make it very far. A few feet later, his car was stuck in the mud. Scharps got out and fled.
Ten days later, Scharps is among the thousands of people evacuated from Montecito.
But on Thursday, Scharps found a little bit of refuge with a familiar face, a friend and fellow evacuee, in an unlikely spot: a backroom of Jamie Slone Wines at 23 E. De La Guerra.
That’s where Scharps paid $40 for a haircut from his favorite stylist, Richie Ramirez, owner of Richie’s Barber Shop.
Richie’s has set up a pop-up shop at Jamie Slone Wines. Slone contacted the barber and offered the space for free. Ramirez was thrilled. He has not been able to access his shop to work.
“How am I supposed to make rent if I can’t cut hair,” Ramirez told Noozhawk. “My mattress money is dwindling.”
Ramirez said he’s giving about the half the haircuts a day that he normally would at his Coast Village Road shop.”
Ramirez said his insurance company denied payment because it doesn’t cover mudslides and flooding. He’s one of the dozens of businesses scrambling to survive since the wicked mudslides killed at least 20 people and devastated the South Coast. Highway 101 has been closed since Jan. 9.
The Honor Bar also has opened a pop-up shop — inside the Public Market.
Other stores are looking to follow suit. There’s no telling when they will be able to open their doors again.
While some stores on Coast Village Road won’t be able to survive the prolonged closure, Richie plans to move forward.
“I’m a survivor,” he said. “I am going to do whatever I can to stay open.”
Wolf’s Head closure
One barber shop and clothing business that didn’t make it was Wolf’s Head Trading Co., formerly at 432 State Street.
The shop, owned by Cristian Sagastume, closed its doors Dec. 28, after a long, public battle with City Hall.
The shop is ground zero for some of State Street’s worst homeless problems. In 2017, Sagastume videotaped a homeless man urinating on a bench in front of his store. The city eventually removed the bench but the problems stayed.
In a Facebook post, Sagastume wrote: “A few factors went into play when making our decision, which include the devastating aftermath the Thomas Fire caused to holiday sales, the deterioration of State Street that we have experienced these last two years, and a lack of vision and planning for the future of State Street from our elected officials.”
Sagustume will continue to sell goods online. He also has his Wolf’s Head Annex shop, 27 E. Victoria Street.
Jewelry designer Diane Dorsey and acclaimed jazz musician Ron Helman will open the artisanal boutique R&D in Los Olivos.
The gallery offers a highly edited collection of original works of art, jewelry and home accessories unique to the Santa Ynez Valley, according to a news release.
Dorsey’s own collection of hand-cast 18 kt. and sterling jewelry are featured along with pieces from fine jewelry designers Scott Diffrient, Anthony Lent, Amyn Rahimtoola, and Holly Masterson.
“To be able to design my jewels and then present them in a space completely crafted – down to the music, scents and textures – of my own design is truly a dream come true,” Dorse said in a statement.
“The opportunity appeared and we simply said ‘Yes!’”
Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara
The opening of the Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara has been delayed from Jan. 22 to Feb. 15. Construction crews have been unable to access the site, 15 E. Cabrillo Boulevard, since the Montecito mudslides.
The Bluewater Grill Santa Barbara will combine fresh, sustainable seafood with monthly chef’s tastings, Central Coast wine pours, and neighborhood happy hours in a rebuilt historic lighthouse structure.
In response to the Thomas Fire, the restaurant will donate a percentage of its proceeds in 2018 to the Thomas Fire Fund, established by the United Way of Ventura County, United Way of Santa Barbara County, American Red Cross of Ventura County and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services.