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Preparing for the worst: businesses in Downtown SLO brace for potential looting, vandalism

Posted at 11:21 PM, Jun 03, 2020

Businesses in downtown San Luis Obispo are bracing for what might happen if a planned protest gets out of hand.

Some businesses are boarded up; others, like LuLu Luxe, decided instead to remove their entire inventory. That way, if people break the glass, there's nothing for them to take.

This comes for many stores as things were starting to return to normal.

"Everybody has been under so much stress and tension with the pandemic; it's just like one more extra thing that we didn't need," said Shelley Stuckey, owner of Tails Pet Boutique.

Tails Pet Boutique opted to board their windows: "We've always been known for our window displays and quirky little dog mannequins, so it's kind of sad it had to come to this," Stuckey said.

Central Coast Surfboards already lost one window to unrelated vandalism Monday night, and they're hoping it stops there.

"There's definitely some anxiousness kind of waiting for things to happen," said Scott Smith, owner of Central Coast Surfboards. "I'm actually looking forward [to] tomorrow night passing and hopefully getting back to San Luis Obispo's new regular -- whatever that is."

Change of a Dress Consignment Boutique closed in solidarity with protesters.

Blackwater boutique lined their windows with the names of people who died from police brutality.

While business owners we spoke to agree with the right to protest and the main message behind the protests, some are now questioning what type of financial impact boarding up could have.

"We're hoping we won't have to leave [boards] up too long; it deters business, and our very welcoming downtown SLO suddenly looks like a war zone," Stuckey said.

Thursday's protest in San Luis Obispo is being put together by the NAACP with the intentions of being peaceful.

It's expected to start at 5 p.m. outside of the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse.