Local businessman adds to the conversation over downtown safety saying he’s considering moving

Local businessman adds to the conversation over downtown safety saying he’s considering moving

When you walk into Pistole Boardshop, which is just down the block from the STA Plaza near the Ridpath, it’s hard not to notice the bars on the windows and doors, in addition to a number of security cameras.

“I’ve had my windows broken out several times,” said owner Josh Yandell, “I’ve had my door shot with a pellet gun.”

He says he’s spent thousands in repairs and security updates to combat what he calls an unsafe area.

“I’ve probably called Crime Check hundreds of times over the years,” he said.

With the conversation over the safety of downtown heating up, he says he wants a businesses perspective included. He notes that you can’t paint a broad brush treating all of downtown the same way. Some parts are safe he says, others are not.

“It’s rough, we have to ask people not to lay on the door because I’m open or I’ve got 15-20 kids out there smoking,” he said. “It’s tough.”

He says it’s getting to the point where it’s scaring off customers and he’s worried about the safety of his employees.

He notes that he doesn’t even have his family come visit his shop because of the homeless and transient concerns.

“We love our space, but we’ve recently had meetings with management about possible moving locations,” he said, “its the last thing we ever want to do, but if people don’t want to come down here, what are we supposed to do?”

He says the area in front of his shop can be calm one minute and a storm the next.

More police officers is what he proposes as a potential fix, as he’s a huge fan of the city and wants to stay there.

“The police try their hardest,” he said, “but there aren’t enough of them.”

He’s been in business 11 years and also has a shop in Coeur D’Alene.

“Spokane is awesome and we want people down here,” he said.

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