The cost of boarding up businesses

SEATTLE — After four days of protests turning into riots, the fear of broken glass and looting has businesses still boarding up.

At Compton Lumber and Hardware in South Seattle the phones are ringing off the hook. Operations manager Shane Jenkins says they ran out of plywood on Monday. Today he and other employees made trips to and from a supplier in Kent to stock up.

"We've gotten calls from every contractor in the city looking to board up," said Jenkins.

Jesse Castro was loading up his truck Tuesday afternoon.

"We're heading to Bellevue. We've got to cover up a bunch of windows before they get broken," said Castro.

But KIRO-7 found it's not just deciding to board up, it's getting your hands on the plywood, transporting it and getting it secured. Business owners say it can cost thousands, how many thousands depends on the height and width of the store front.

In Kirkland the Chamber of Commerce warned businesses of a planned protest yesterday.

While it stayed peaceful, there weren't any guarantees. Most businesses on Lake Street and Lake Washington Boulevard were boarded up and were encouraged to stay closed through Tuesday.

At Herban Wellness apothecary Katya Difani didn't board up her windows.

"Cost wasn't really the factor as much as how am I going to haul them,. I don't have a truck, and I didn't have the equipment," said Difani who was surprised by what she found Tuesday morning. "Other people came and boarded up my business because they were my guardian protectors."

While she'd moved most of her products to a back room, cleaning up and replacing the broken glass would have been bad enough after losing business due to coronavirus.

"I don't know if I could recover from that because of the last few months mostly," said Difani.

One store owner paid close to $3,000. Another business owner expected it to cost closer to $10,000. It’s a cost many small businesses that have been shut down for months say they can’t afford, but feel like they can’t afford not to either.