MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Businesses around the square in Murfreesboro are preparing for the unexpected this weekend. Many are closing up shop and boarding up windows.
The League of the South is planning to hold a rally in downtown. They will be joined by the group White Lives Matter, and counter protesters are also expected.
The Downtown Murfreesboro Business Association met with city, police, and sheriff’s office officials last week, and has decided for the safety of business owners and customers, its best if they don’t open for business.PREVIOUS: Groups plan non-violent counter-protests in Middle Tennessee
At Woodsviking Barbershop in downtown Murfreesboro, not only can you get a cool cut or perfectly trimmed beard; you can get good conversation as well.
And the talk around the shop lately has been of the white heritage rally scheduled for Saturday.
“Our community is not hosting this so definitely it hurts us in that aspect coming in and we’re having to shut our businesses down for people outside our state, representing something that we don’t have any involvement in,” said Woodsviking Barbershop co-owner Shawn Templeton.
The barbershop has been opened for a year, and its diverse clientele make it unique.
Workers would prefer the group not come and divide the community.
“The potential of losing business not happy because it affects me and my family, at the end of the day because some people want to voice their hate opinions,” said barbershop manager Jonte’ Gaines.MORE: Businesses take a stand against pro-white rallies in Middle Tennessee
Most businesses within a two-block area surrounding the historic square have decided to close on Saturday, standing to lose thousands of dollars.
“Really what it all comes down to is the safety of crewmembers and the safety of the guests coming into the restaurant. Sure, we wish we could be open, but it’s not worth it if someone coming to our establishment gets hurt,” said Christy Hackinson, owner of The Alley on Main.
Business owners said local law enforcement agencies have suggested preparing as if there were a hurricane.
“It’s going to be a hassle, but we would rather board them up and have it be unnecessary than not do it and have there be damage to our building,” Hackinson said.
Since most of the businesses in downtown will be closed this weekend, residents are urged to spend this week patronizing those stores to help them off-set the cost of having to close on Saturday.
“We are all very upset that we will be losing you know an entire business day that’s in our busy season for a lot of the shops,” said Gretchen Bilbro, Vice President of the Downtown Murfreesboro Business Association and owner of Cultivate CoWorking. “Saturdays are their busiest days. Some of the restaurants in town tell us Saturdays are 20-percent of their weekly revenue. These are not large corporate places, these are small businesses with one location, maybe two, and it’s really sick to possibly hurt our community financially.”
By the way, city officials said they are still reviewing the League of the South’s permit application. We are told one is not actually needed to protest around the square, but it’s preferred so the city can prepare for additional officers for crowd control and even city workers for trash cleanup if needed.
Other events are also planned in the coming weekends in support of those local businesses.
The Downtown Sip, Shop and Stroll event will be held on Nov. 3 and the Murfreesboro Loves group will be holding a similar event Nov. 4.