The threat of looters invading Seafood City in Mira Mesa left management with a tough choice this week: spend hundreds of dollars to shore up their storefront and close early or do nothing at all and take their chances.
Seafood City and many of the surrounding businesses in the Mesa Shopping Center opted to put up plywood Tuesday night ahead of a planned protest Wednesday.
While the protest remained peaceful, the swirling images of destruction in other neighborhoods across San Diego County and rumors of unrest over the weekend has business owners worried.
The plywood is staying up, for now.
"Even the customers are all scared. And some of our employees don't want to come to work because they're all scared about what's going on right now" said Miriam Advincula, Seafood City's Assistant Manager.
Other businesses looking like construction zones include restaurants, liquor stores, and jewelry stores.
"We feel unsafe when we hear something like this is happening, we did not expect it for something like this to happen in our community" said Wii Phimmachanh, manager at Siam Nara Thia Cuisine.
The run on plywood inside the Mira Mesa Home Depot reflects the number of business owners going on the defensive. The warehouse had already sold out of certain boards and was running low on others.
"It's not drastic as far as my opinion goes, I think it's pretty reasonable to me," Seafood City customer Jever Apon said about security measures being taken in the shopping center
Another customer, 71-year-old Oliver Jones, a black man who marched in Washington D.C. following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., shook his head at the boards saying he was ashamed of the violence and destruction which forced the business owners to board up.
"They're going to hurt someone who has done nothing to them. These people did not kill that man. They didn't do it to him, they're just trying to make a living. They want to get something for free, they want to steal" said Jones.