ANTIOCH, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dozens of businesses in the Hickory Hollow Parkway area are boarded up, as they prepare for potential riots.
Nearly the entire shopping center of The Shoppes at Hickory Hollow is boarded up after the property manager, Mishorim Investments, offered safety for their tenants and customers.
Operations Manager Rami Ismael told News 2 that they offered the added protection just in case a riot broke out.
“We started doing it yesterday. We do what you see all over the shopping center, just for protection and just for community to feel safe and for the neighbors as well,” said Ismael.
For the past couple of days, Ismail and his crew have been working on covering the glass and doors of their more than two dozen tenants, with their eyes focused on a scheduled protest in downtown Nashville on Thursday night.
“It’s going to have damage to the tenant and it’s going to have damage to the community, they are going to be scared from people breaking in, it doesn’t matter who and that’s why we have this. Even if it’s not happening, we already have the protection, the precaution for protection,” he explained.
Employees at Nail World are appreciative, telling News 2 that boarding up helps ease some of their fears.
“Yeah, I’m scared. I’m really scared you know; scared to work, scared to go out, scared to go to market,” said Thi Hoang who works at Nail World.
However, Ismael admits that not all of the tenants liked the idea of boarding up.
“They are like, ‘no, it’s going to slow my business,’ but it’s for protection. Some people say, ‘no, we don’t want it,’ some people say, ‘yes, please.'”
Wednesday, Ismael’s crew was already having to remove some of the plywood that they just nailed up. A Kroger representative told News 2 that they wanted the boards removed, but Ismael said it was actually Kroger customers that sparked the idea.
“I heard from the customer at Kroger. They started being worried about it, like, ‘why you guys not boarding, you guys boarding all of this?’ I told them ‘yes, I want you guys to feel safe,'” explained Ismael.
In addition to boarding up the businesses, he said their company is extending their security presence pointing out that they would rather be prepared than not.
“We hire three security officers for the shopping center through the night and morning. We have three police officers over here as well patrolling and securing the area,” stated Ismael.
Below is the full release from Kroger on taking down the plywood:
The events of this past week have reminded us, COVID-19 is but one of the many challenges confronting our communities today. At Kroger, our Purpose is to Feed the Human Spirit, and we do that by taking care of the communities we serve. As America’s Grocer, we strive to demonstrate Our Values of Respect, Diversity, Inclusion, Honesty, Integrity, and Safety in our everyday actions.
When made aware that the businesses in the shopping center where our Hickory Hollow Kroger is located had been boarded up, we asked for them to be removed from our store. While we have teams monitoring the situation across the country and here locally, we remain focused on serving our communities. We will continue to take precautions necessary to keep our associates and customers safe.
Several other businesses in nearby shopping centers have also boarded up.
Teens for Equality is hosting the protest set for 4 p.m. at Bicentennial Mall with a march to the Tennessee State Capitol.