How the Charlotte Protests Are Affecting North Carolina Retailers

It has been a tense few days for Charlotte, N.C., as protesters marched in the city in response to the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old black father of seven.

While peaceful demonstrations turned violent on Wednesday night, several locals say — for the most part — order and calm have become the prevailing themes in the days that followed.

Chris Eckerd, store manager at Charlotte-based running specialty store Run for Your Life — located about a half mile away from where protests became aggressive earlier in the week —  said that although the retailer erred on the side of caution and postposed an in-store event scheduled for Thursday evening, the store hasn’t seen much of an impact from the highly publicized protests. (Today, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts imposed a curfew in the city from midnight until 6 a.m.)

It was a little out of hand on Wednesday night, but the protests were peaceful last night,” Eckerd said. “People were chanting and blocked traffic for a little while, but it was mostly fine.

Eckerd added that he observed a slight decrease in foot traffic during the evening hours, but business remained solid throughout the day.

I think people are trying to [avoid] running errands in the evening and are doing them during the day so they can stay out of the way,” Eckerd noted.

Brand Ollish, store manager at Charlotte sneaker and apparel boutique Social Status, also said business at the store had not seen a major shift since the protest activity.

It’s not nearly as crazy as the media is [portraying],” Ollish said. “The majority of the people out there are peaceful.”

Ollish said his store is also within a mile of where the unrest — which left one man dead and led North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to declare a state of emergency — occurred, making the events a hot topic among customers shopping the store’s wares.

We were prepared to close early Thursday night if we had to but so far nothing has really changed,” Ollish added. “[Most] of the protests are on the peaceful so we’re not too worried about it.”

A store manager at children’s shoe store Kixx, located in the South Park neighborhood, told FN that she’s prepared to close the store if she learns of any planned protest nearby but believes that most of the impact is being felt in the downtown area.

A spokesperson for urban footwear and apparel retailer DTLR, which has several stores in the Charlotte area, said none of the company’s stores were impacted by the protests.

In response to an email inquiry from Footwear News, Charlotte-based family footwear retailer Rack Room Shoes — which also owns Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse — declined to comment.

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