Across the US, shop owners and retailers board up windows in preparation for the elections. This phenomenon happened in many major cities as America prepares to vote on November 3.
Business owners are stepping up security measures to protect their stores. They board up windows to head off any damages in case of election results that erupt into protests in the next few days. Aside from boarding up windows, retailers also hired extra security for added protection.
Major retailer chains taking precautions are Tiffany, Saks Fifth Avenue, CVS, Target, and Macy's. Nathan Strauss, Tiffany’s spokesman said: “While we intend to remain open where possible, out of an abundance of caution the windows of select stores in key cities will be boarded in anticipation of potential election-related activity.”
Last summer, stores in major cities fell victim to riots and vandalism. These were offshoots of protests on George Floyd’s death in Minnesota. Retailers learned their lesson and have instituted preventive measures. Apart from damages, stores lost inventory due to looting.
Supermarket chain CVS will also board up store windows damaged earlier this year. The chain clarified that they will remain open, but boarded up. CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis said that boarded-up stores “will continue to be open to serve customers as long as it is safe to do so.”
Plywood Sales Up
Suppliers reported this weekend that plywood is in short in supply in some areas. The Home Depot in Manhattan reportedly ran out of large plywood sheets. Construction and security companies are also scouring markets for wood and other supplies.
Service Channel CEO Tom Buiocchi says business is booming. The online platform connects retailers with local contractors for board up jobs. He said that around 750 stores transacted on the channel to get local workers. Most of the orders came from California, Illinois, and New York. Services range from $124 for a small store to $31,000 for retail giants.
In Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, crews started boarding up all of the 70 plus shops in the trendy strip. Work started in the early hours of Monday morning. By-Election day, crews expect to finish the job and prevent access to Rodeo Drive.
Kathy Gohari, VP of the Rodeo Drive Committee, says they are ready. She said: “Ferragamo is boarded up, Prada is boarded up, Dolce & Gabbana is boarded up. Rodeo Drive is among the most desirable streets in the world, which means we’re one of the biggest targets. What we do not welcome is people with ill intentions, who are here to destruct property.”
In Chicago and New York
Stores in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile are already boarded by now. The city government deployed snow plows and salt trucks to act as barriers in case they need to close off roads.
Adam Skaf, Magnificent Mile Association spokesman, says they are getting ready. Their group is coordinating with police to come up with “long-term security strategies.”
In New York, high-end retailers have fortified storefronts and covered glass windows. These include Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Bergdorf Goodman, Dolce & Gabbana, and Tourneau. Stores in Soho, Midtown, and other parts of Manhattan are also secured. Spring Street, Prince Street, and Green Street all sport plywood storefronts in anticipation.
Be Safe or Be Sorry
Since the death of George Floyd this summer, many protests ended up as riots. Stores fell victim to vandals, looters, and even arsonists. An estimated $1 billion in insured losses and theft resulted from property damages. Now, retailers board up windows in anticipation of any potential problem. After a disastrous summer, they’d rather be safe than sorry.
The elections are the next potential flashpoint for further episodes of civil unrest. Other than a clear, landslide victory for either party, the election can drag on. And this could lead to other actions. By acting now to fortify their stores, retailers are not taking any chances. No matter who wins the elections, store owners won’t be the losers in the aftermath.
Watch this as Inside Edition reports on why retailers board up windows ahead of the US National Elections this November 3:
Do you think that there is a possibility of civil unrest because of the elections? Or are store owners overreacting over an exercise of democracy? Let us know what you think about the frenzy preparations for the elections by leaving your comments below.