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Some Richmond stores are boarded up to prepare for potential violence on Election Day and beyond

Some Richmond stores are boarded up to prepare for potential violence on Election Day and beyond

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A handful of retailers and businesses in Richmond are boarding up their stores, worried about potential violence on Election Day and beyond.

"We're protecting our employees and customers," according to a store manager at the Rainbow apparel shop that boarded up its storefront at the East Broad and North Third streets in downtown Richmond on Monday.

"This is a precaution because of the elections," said the manager, who declined to provide her name. "We don’t want anything to happen."

Richard Waller Jr., the third generation of his family to run Waller & Co. Jewelers on East Broad Street in downtown Richmond, said he has no plans to board up his storefront.

In late May, his store, a fixture on Broad Street for 120 years, had windows smashed and looters broke the store's glass door and came into the shop, smashing display cases and taking merchandise such as Citizen watches and jewelry. It happened following the police killing of George Floyd where protests were accompanied by violence and property damage.

"We feel it will not come to that this time," Waller said of any possible Election Day violence in Richmond.

"We don't feel that will happen here. All of the stuff going on around the country and boarding up in other places ... . They feel there will be a lot of stuff going on. We just don’t feel that it will happen to us. We feel that God is with us."

The CVS store at West Broad Street and North Arthur Ashe Boulevard boarded up its store windows on Monday as a precaution, a CVS spokeswoman said. That location had all the front windows busted out during the first weekend of protesting in late May.

"We are closely monitoring the situation in our markets, and our local leaders are empowered to take steps that they determine will best support the safety of our stores, employees and customers," the CVS spokeswoman said. "This includes boarding of windows at some stores. Any store with boarded windows will continue to be open to serve customers as long as it is safe to do so."

The Comcast building a block north on Arthur Ashe Boulevard from the CVS store also was boarded up on Monday.

A couple of other buildings along Broad Street from Arthur Ashe Boulevard to downtown Richmond also were boarded up.

There were no plans to board up storefronts in Carytown, said Amanda Slone, president of the Carytown Merchants Association.  Most of the buildings along the 1-mile stretch of West Cary Street were boarded up in early June to prevent looting and destruction from the protests then.

"We are expecting an uptick in graffiti. All of Richmond will see that," Slone said. "Richmond has been so great in supporting small businesses. I am hoping that will continue. We are taking it day by day."

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