Over the weekend, several dealerships on the West Coast and elsewhere were vandalized during protests stemming from the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis.
On Monday, dealerships in the hot zones were cleaning up and preparing for additional disruptions ahead.
Nick Pacifico, vice president of the Rickenbaugh Automotive Group in Denver, said Monday that one of its downtown locations would move all of its nearly 360 vehicles indoors for the second night in a row to shield the inventory from riots. The dealership, which sells and services Cadillac and Volvo vehicles, is in a location central to the disruption in downtown Denver. The store has 9,200 square feet of indoor space, as well as an offsite warehouse to store inventory.
Thankfully, the store is under construction, so there are no windows to break, Pacifico said.
“There’s two groups of people that are out here. The rioters are young punk white kids that are running around breaking stuff,” Pacifico said. “We figured, seeing what the rioters were doing, the cars would be too good of a target.”
The city's fire department advised the store to close early on Friday, but Pacifico said the store kept normal hours.
Concerns over the disruptions downtown, which began last Thursday night and commenced every night since, have had a moderate impact on business. Pacifico estimated less than ten vehicle sales that would have otherwise been closed over the weekend were delayed, particularly as more customers opted to finalize transactions in the store.
Pacifico said he’s supportive of the protests, but not the criminal activity that begins later in the evening.
“I understand if you’re angry at the government...but you shouldn’t be angry at the businesses that employ and support the people you love and care about,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz of Oakland, in California, is one of the dealerships that was looted. Photos show broken showroom windows and vehicles that had been smashed and spray-painted with words such as "eat the rich." CBS BayArea reported that the store also had severe smoke damage from fires in the area.
On Saturday, the dealership posted a video on Facebook of its cleanup effort and said, "Our family is rebuilding. We are part of the community. #protectoakland."
Customers of the dealership commented on the post with supportive messages.
"This is so sad," customer Kathy Ryan wrote. "I will be back to support you when you reopen."
Down the street from the Mercedes-Benz dealership is Honda of Oakland. A video from Friday shows a vehicle being stolen and driven through the showroom windows with other people cheering and smashing the store.