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Santa Barbara businesses hurting as Thomas Fire continues to bur - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Santa Barbara businesses hurting as Thomas Fire continues to burn

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Downtown Santa Barbara is looking more like a ghost town during what's usually a busy time of year for retail stores.

Several stores along State Street and within the Paseo Nuevo shopping center have signs posted on their doors reading, "We're open." However, the thick smoke and poor air quality are keeping customers away.

Myers Deyta manages Inspire, a store at Paseo Nuevo. She says the retail store has been dead since the fire first broke out last Monday.

"A lot of people pass by and assume that we're closed but we're actually open," Deyta said.

Usually during this time of the year, business is booming and the doors to stores are wide open.

"Both doors would be open at this time but because of the air quality, we have to keep the doors closed," Deyta said.

The Christmas tree in the center of downtown stands alone, and it seems like this year the spirit of Christmas isn't there.

"It's the holidays but a lot of people's spirits are down," Deyta said.

Despite the encouragement to get business through the door, sales are down for Goa Taco, according to owner Duvaldi Marneweck.

"All this week has been really terrible, there's almost no point in being open," Marneweck said. "I think yesterday all day we had 12 sales."

That's a feeling unfamiliar to many in an area that's usually lively.

Olivia Ortyz, manager of the retail store Only Santa Barbara, says foot traffic in and out of the store is sparse. 

"We've been having days with really no people in the store for 2-3 hours," Ortyz said.

Now more than ever, business owners are calling on the public for support.

"I think this is just a good time, once the dust settles for everybody, to get out there and support local businesses," Marneweck said.

While several businesses in downtown Santa Barbara are still open, there are a few with posted signs on the door that say they're closed due to the poor air quality. Several businesses in Montecito and Carpinteria have also closed their doors due to poor air quality.

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