The tanker fire that forced the shutdown of a stretch of the 60 Freeway has caused more than just a driver's nightmare. It has also impacted businesses in the Montebello area that depend on the freeway to bring them customers.
The holiday season is a time when hair salons rake in the cash, but a salon next to the Paramount Boulevard Overpass spent Thursday nearly empty.
Salon manager Sylvia Hernandez said she lost half her business because her customers are not able to get around.
“It’s a big headache. Not for us necessarily but for our clients,” she said, noting this is the time when they schedule for the holidays.
“They have to reschedule appointments. Some are canceling,” she said.
Across the street, the Chevron gas station looked like a ghost town. Its manager, Miguel Osorio, looked out at the vacant parking lot and estimated his losses at two gas stations.
“With both our stations down, we are losing $70,000… to give you a small estimate,” he said.
The Shops at Montebello are just south of the burned out overpass. Mall officials wouldn’t say how much business they’ve lost, but the place looked empty.
Their major concern was the upcoming weekend which would be one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.
“It’s kind of one of those acts of God. You just don’t know what happens. We’re trying to do everything to deal with this wrinkle,” said mall spokesman Sam Carpenter.
Shoppers, however, seemed to enjoy taking advantage of a mall that was less crowded.
“I’m not going to share a tip because I want to have the mall to myself,” said shopper Danny Morales. Then he relented and advised people heading to the mall to “get off on Arroyo and on Garfield” if they want to get to the shops.
But Montebello resident Oliver Galicia said he’ll think twice before he goes shopping there again.
He said it took 45 minutes to travel a trip that normally takes only 10 minutes.