Longtime business owner finds alternative to boarding up windows


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — As the District of Columbia continues to prepare for Inauguration Day, local businesses are doing their part in getting ready for any potential dangers, by boarding up windows with plywood.

The boarding up has become a common sight in the past few months in the District, with demonstrations over the summer and protests over the election. As many downtown businesses have been closed due to the pandemic, one longtime business owner took a different approach.

Instead of boarding up, Andy Shallal, the CEO and Founder of Busboys and Poets, decided to hire local artists to paint his storefront windows. He called it the #paintthestorefront campaign, and it spread to other businesses in the District.

Shallal said the campaign brightened up the downtown area, rather than what he felt made it look like a warzone. He said his approach is to send a different message. He said, “We made sure people are safe, first of all. We made sure we have enough man support and so on, and we made sure we don’t send the wrong message. The message is of love, support, caring and not a message of division.”

Shallal said the campaign will help the community as we make a comeback from this unprecedented time in history.

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