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NYC Business Owners Worry Boarded Up Windows Are Costing Them Customers, Fear Taking Plywood Down Too Soon

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Many small businesses across the city are struggling to survive during the pandemic, but several stores still boarded up in anticipation of potential unrest around Election Day may be keeping customers away.

Ruben Colon used to work at a big salon, but in the middle of the pandemic, he got an idea.

"It's just something that came over me that says, you know, this might be a good opportunity," Colon said.

In August, he opened his very own salon in Chelsea -- New Collective NY.

"Because the pandemic, people were leaving offices, they were working from home, so I was able to negotiate a good deal," Colon said.

He figures it's a service people will always need.

An added bonus -- the location is on the fourth floor, so no one is just walking in during the pandemic.

"It's appointment only. It's private," Colon said.

RELATED STORY: NYC Businesses Start Boarding Up In Anticipation Of Election Unrest: 'Better Safe Than Sorry'

But there are some businesses who do rely on walk-ins, and they're concerned that their boarded-up windows may be costing them business.

Eric Goldstein co-owns Park Avenue Liquor Shop at the corner of 39th and Madison.

Some businesses were still boarded up one week after the 2020 election. Business owners were wary of taking plywood down too soon, while also worried about losing customers. (Credit: CBS2)

"To look like you're closed or for people to second-guess whether or not they should attempt to come in or not because of the way the store looks, it's hard for us," he said.

Back in early June, his store was one of the many that was looted.

"We had a lot of good stolen, our computers, our safe," Goldstein said.

He says the building landlord put the plywood up ahead of Election Day, like so many others did, in case of unrest.

RELATED STORY: Small Businesses Not Holding Back To Draw In Holiday Shoppers

Goldstein says he's happy the store is protected, but he'd like for it to come down now.

"Families have put so much into these stores and they really want to protect them, I respect that," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. "If you're asking what I'm seeing? What I'm seeing is the worst is now behind us."

Some have taken it down, but others, like a convenience store on Broadway in NoHo, say it's hard to tell if that's a good idea.

"When do you think the boards will come down?" CBS2's Alice Gainer asked.

"Hopefully, a lot of people, they're thinking one more week," manager Ali Dovani said.

Hastily scribbled signs outside of some stores indicate they're open beyond the wood. Owners say despite exterior appearances, please come inside and shop.


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