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Saturday, Mar 2, 2024

Businesses Offering Deals During Freeway Closure

Carmageddon is fast approaching, and San Fernando Valley businesses are bracing for the impact. Businesses are touting deals on products and services in hopes drawing customers on the weekend of July 15-18, when parts of the 405 freeway will be completely shut down between the 101 and 10 freeways for demolition work on the Mulholland Drive Bridge. The closure is forcing some businesses to operate with fewer workers and to offer the discounts in hopes of attracting customers. Many aren’t sure how the 53-hour event will affect their bottom line, but they’re preparing for the worst. Sophia Brodetsky, owner of Valley Inn Restaurant & Bar said she expects business to drop off between 30 and 40 percent during the 405 closure. That’s why her restaurant will be offering a “405 Carmageddon Special” on Friday and Saturday that weekend, she said. House drinks and select appetizers will only cost $4.05 all day and night. Brodetsky said she hopes to attract drivers who need a break from side-street traffic, considering that she’s only one block west of Sepulveda Boulevard. She also plans to send out an e-mail blast to more than 3,000 customers in order to reach locals staying in town for the weekend. “We’re definitely making plans, but you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Brodetsky said. “You have to be creative.” For the Carmageddon weekend, Courtyard by Marriott in Sherman Oaks is offering discounted fares starting at $109, said David Cornish, the hotel’s general manager. The usual starting rate is $159, he said. Cornish said the hotel is mainly targeting weekend commuters, such as physicians, entertainment industry professionals, and retail workers. “Right now, we’re maybe two-thirds full (for that weekend),” he said. “I think we’ll probably come really close to filling.” Staff has been marketing the lower prices to area businesses, particularly hospitals, and will save some rooms for its own employees, who might need them, Cornish said. Sherman Oaks Hospital and Encino Hospital Medical Center, are a couple of area hospitals that have been hotel shopping for their employees. “We’ve just made contact with a number of local hotels and have come up with a rate that our (employees) will have to pay,” said Bob Bills, CEO of both hospitals. While some other businesses have not announced “Carmageddon” specials, they say they expect a different crowd during 405 closure weekend. “We may see a bit more of our local clientele here, rather than people traveling to come see us,” said Jay Bartlett, manager of Sisley Italian Kitchen on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. Local business leaders say the 405 closure — while it may seem to be logistical nightmare — is a chance to reintroduce local residents to businesses in their own neighborhoods. The Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce and Valley Industry and Commerce Association have launched a “stay local” campaign. They are compiling a list of local businesses and their specials, said Nancy Hoffman Vanyek, the chamber’s CEO. “Businesses have the opportunity to tap into potential customers that may have never thought of them before,” Vanyek said. Business owners should also need to prepare for how the closure will affect them logistically, Vanyek said. She suggested being aware of where their employees are commuting from and even adjusting work hours. Brodetsky said one of her employees at Valley Inn Restaurant & Bar lives in Brentwood. “He probably won’t come in,” she said, noting that his presence would leave her without a bartender. “He already told us.”

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