BOSTON (CBS) – Neil Patel was hoping to get City Smoke Shop on Newbury Street reopened in phase two of Governor Baker’s re-opening plan which includes retail stores.
He says he was ready, hoping to get the green light on Monday, until looters ransacked his store following a peaceful protest May 31. “I was totally ready and the fact that I’m not ready now is mind blowing to me because I just lost three months,” Patel said.
His store was robbed of valuable inventory that could take weeks to replace. Store surveillance video shows looter and after looter entering the store after breaking through the storefront and helping themselves to his smoking products.
“On top of everything I have to fix the entire store after I just took a massive loss that could take me a year to recoup,” said Patel.
Business after business on Newbury Street is now boarded up, many already shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. They were just seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, according to clothing store owner Betsy Jenney whose storefront glass was shattered though thieves couldn’t make their way inside. “It’s going to be weeks, it’s very hard, because the whole city needs to be repaired,” said Jenney.
She feels fortunate she will be able to have customers in, though only three at a time and with appointments. She’s figured out social distancing in the store by removing some clothing racks, but customers will have to stay out of the dressing rooms for now.
She’s trying to be optimistic as she says the shopping area now resembles a war zone. “I’m not going to let any of this put me out of business after all these years,” Jenney said.