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Looting, Vandalism Scares Shoppers Away On 'Small Business Saturday' In Oakland

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Small Business Saturday was supposed to provide a big boost for local mom and pop stores. But in Oakland, it did anything but. Between the vandalism and the protests, profits were the only thing small here.

From the outside, everything looked normal at Mark's Paint store on Telegraph. But inside, it was clear the clientele had dried up.

"Yesterday, I had the slowest day in 10 years," said owner Anthony Rago.

A survey of the mom and pop shops that were supposed to be honored this Saturday found empty aisles, and a 60% drop in sales.

Rago believes images of looting and vandalism from this past week have some shoppers reluctant to spend money in Oakland's Temescal District.

"They're afraid to come down here," said Rago.

That perception worries Joey Brite.

"I had two people say to me, 'Well, I don't know about going down.' I said, 'There's not going to be anything going on.' What that does is build a perception that everywhere in Oakland is bad."

In picking what stores to target looters have been somewhat selective, hitting big corporate stores and sparing the mom and pop businesses.

On Telegraph and 42nd Street, the Kelly Moore paint store had nearly every window broken. They stole paint and spilled it onto the street.

But just across the street at the 'mom and pop' paint store not a single window was broken.

"If they would've done the damage here, we would have really had a rough time," says owner Rago.

Still, whether the damage to a business is visible or not, the stigma of violence is already taking its toll in Oakland. Looters marching up and down Telegraph Boulevard isn't good for any business, corporate or locally-owned.

"This really hurts businesses," said Brite, who witnessed the vandalism firsthand. "That's not the message of what any of the original protestors were trying to do."

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