1-800-BOARDUP, an international franchise of construction companies specializing in disaster and emergency response, has seen an uptick in requests from various companies in the St. Louis area to board up their store fronts for the forthcoming St. Louis County grand jury verdict relating to the shooting death of Mike Brown.
According to its mission statement, “Although 1-800-BOARDUP is a for-profit enterprise, our true success is measured by our ability to effectively serve those in need through our unwavering commitment to our core principles and values.”
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot 18-year old Brown on August 9. The controversial incident is still being examined by a grand jury and set off 10 days of violent standoffs and occasional arrests between law enforcement and protesters. The grand jury’s verdict as to whether or not to indict Wilson could come any day now.
Stores all along West Florissant Avenue, a strip of road where protesters marched last summer, are still boarded up since those days in August, and insurance companies are expecting other stores to board up their fronts as well in anticipation of a grand jury verdict that could spark looting. However, some businesses, like STL Cordless which was looted in August, are defying the recommendation and leaving store fronts plywood free.
Although known to secure structures that have been damaged by fire, flood, storm, or other human activities, 1-800-BOARDUP is now being asked to be on call for any damage that may be done to businesses in the future as a result of potential rioting triggered by a non-indictment of Wilson.
Mike Sellenschuetter, the local St. Louis franchise owner for 1-800-BOARDUP, told Breitbart News there is a noticeable increase in calls the business is receiving.
“There is somewhat of an increase. Companies have called us and basically asked us to be on notice. In other words, they are anticipating there is going to be an issue. One of them is Granger. They have contacted us. So we are on call for some of their stores,” he said. “So they will place the call immediately if they need our services. There’s definitely been an uptick, if you will, in some of the calls. People are preparing, but nobody knows how far it’s going to go or how bad it’s going to be.”
Sellenschuetter explained, “Many of the businesses are prematurely boarding up in case something takes place. Generally, we work in partnership with the Red Cross, but we also work with the fire departments and the police stations on a regular basis, because they’ve seen how we’ve performed in those types of conditions.”
The company will not place their service employees in harms way and will acquire a police escort if the situation calls for it, Sellenschuetter noted, and the company has already purchased body armor for their workers.
“They haven’t encountered any problems presently, but right now, its fairly quiet. There’s little bit of protesting going on in a few areas, obviously you’re going to see an increase as the verdict is revealed,” he said.