Locals react as Topanga Canyon Blvd. reopens after nearly 3-month closure

To the Tongva Indian tribe, the word "Topanga" means "where the mountain meets the sea." 

But when the mountain took a tumble March 9 due to storm-triggered mud and debris flows and landed on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, it served as a huge road block.

Then business slowed. 

"When it first happened it was disbelief. ‘Is that going to be closed till October?’" said Ann Lombardo, who owns Pebbles.

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But, fewer customers started showing up in local shops from the beach side, which Lombardo said was "a little depressing and a little quiet."

People still came from the San Fernando Valley side, but not the beach unless they went all the way around, like author and artist Jessica Viola, who said every time she made the trek "it was three hours to go around and get here."

"It''s been totally disruptive," she said. 

Lombardo said her business was down 15% at Pebbles.

At the Moona Star art cooperative, Monica Zaidman said hers was down about the same.

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"Mainly I was worried that we had to cut back hours. Our sales were down 50 to 80% and the whole community started to band together because people were suffering quite a bit," said one of the managers of Topanga Rocks, Misty Lawrence.

The days went on without relief.

Locals brought in bands and offered discounts to make the long journey worthwhile, but the idea of waiting until fall for the road to open was tough. 

Then, Gov. Gavin Newsom made a big announcement Friday - Topanga Canyon Boulevard would reopen Sunday, June 2, about three months ahead of schedule.

Saturday night, there was literally dancing in the streets to celebrate the road opening up three months early.

SUGGESTED: Topanga Canyon Boulevard to reopen this weekend

"For us, it's three months too late, so I'm happy that it's open. I was smiling on my way to work this morning," said Lawrence.

In fact, there are a lot more smiles around here now and Topanga can be Topanga again.

"The canyon is a magical place," said Zaidman. 

With the road now open, it's also a happier one.