NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — On a sunny Tuesday in June, Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls looks like a ghost town. Storefronts, as far as the eye can see, still boarded up.
“Pine avenue actually has a lot of potential its sad our boarded up windows kind of steer people away," Latina’s Importing Co. family member Courtney Marazzo said.
Marazzo says business owners along her street decided to board up their windows as a safety precaution.
“To hear that people out of town can possibly damage our small businesses is devastating, you know,” she said.
But it’s been more than a week since riots in Buffalo led vandals to smash windows in parts of downtown, Allentown and the Elmwood Village. In the Falls, Marazzo says the plywood is starting to leave customers confused.
“We get a lot of phone calls til this day. What are your hours? Are you open? So having boards up really played a big part,” she said.
But after more than a week of peaceful protests, and phase three of New York’s reopening plan just around the corner, some businesses are already taking their plywood down.
“Today, It came down actually," co-owner of The Antique Lamp on Hertel Avenue Susan Tobin said. "It came down today.”
Tobin says unboarding her windows almost felt like a sigh of relief.
“It just feels like we’re starting to return to life before coronavirus,” she said. "Fortunately now the violent protests seem to be over, so we’re look forward with optimism.”
And Courtney Marazzo on Pine Avenue says hers will come down soon.
“It’s coming down because it’s very gloomy in here,” she said. “I’m ready for it to be back to normal. I think everyone can attest to that. We’re ready."