Small businesses in downtown Spokane face another hurdle with protest violence

SPOKANE, Wash. – It’s been a never-ending rollercoaster ride for some business owners in downtown Spokane.

General Manager Chris White turned on the open sign Tuesday morning for a new day, hoping people will come into Cosmic Cowboy.

“The mall is currently closed where it just opened back up. Williams Sonoma, Apple Store, they’re all boarded up. That does not promote business and activity downtown,” White told 4 News Now.

Cosmic Cowboy chose its spot on Main Avenue for the foot traffic from all the events that were bound to happen. The store opened its doors in February, then closed down in March because of the pandemic before reopening for to-go.

“With everything being canceled it’s been extremely challenging for us and for all downtown businesses,” White said.

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Then, the protest happened Sunday, turning violent in the evening. Cosmic Cowboy closed early that day, then closed the doors all day Monday.

“It was something we felt best for our staff and the business,” he said.

Just down the road, it was a difficult decision for owner Travis Dickinson to close Cochinito Taqueria early on Monday.

“We actually had a really strong lunch and kind of a promise of a good dinner right as I made the call to close things down,” Dickinson said.

When he heard about the violence downtown Sunday, when the taco shop is normally closed, he came down in and put away some liquor and other valuables.

“Kind of hid all of that stuff so they looked a little less desirable in case anybody decided to come in,” he said.

His business wasn’t vandalized, but he said it still hurt having to close early.

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“Having this happen right after our first good week of dining in and entering into phase two was definitely a bit of a gut punch for us. We’re hoping that it’s short-lived and we’re back in action soon, because last week was pretty strong,” he said.

Both businesses say they will keep on eye on things, with Cosmic Cowboy choosing to close on Tuesday amid the return of protests.

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