Culture / Newsy

With Houston Protests Peaceful, the City’s Luxury Stores Board Up and Move Merchandise Out — an Eerie Scene at River Oaks District, Highland Village

Closing Up Shop With the Country in Turmoil

BY // 06.01.20
photography Shelby Hodge

After the windows were smashed in Tony Bradfield’s incredibly secure Tenenbaum Jewelers on Sunday night, by midday Monday he was planning on boarding up just as his neighbors in Houston’s River Oaks District and Highland Village did over the weekend.

Monday morning, The Galleria was closed with a phalanx of police officers covering every automobile entrance and Simon making no comment on the precautions or even that the mall was closed. Houston luxury stores are on edge.

Despite the relatively peaceful George Floyd demonstrations in Houston so far, high-end merchants are worried. The destruction in Dallas, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minneapolis has Houston on guard. Rumors are flying that anarchists and other bad actors are heading for the city to stir up similar trouble during Floyd’s funeral.

National news media is already descending on Houston for the funeral, the date of which at this moment remains unannounced, and for the chaos that is feared will ensue. Despite the fact that Houston’s demonstrations largely have been peaceful so far with Houston police chief Art Avecedo marching with protestors at one point.

A stroll through River Oaks District early Sunday evening revealed an eerie sight. Hermés, Cartier, Harry Winston, and Dolce & Gabbana were in the process of boarding up. Jo Malone and Dior virtually disappeared in a wall of imposing plywood. John Lobb, Canali and Brunello Cucinelli had emptied their stores of all visible merchandise.

Calls to a number of the merchants went unanswered, messages not returned. The man with Harry Winston, who answered from his post in Dallas, said he could not comment on the situation but the venerable jeweler would remain closed “until further notice.”

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The boarding up presented an odd visual as neighboring Toulouse and Le Colonial diners were enjoying dinner despite the slight drizzle that dampened the Floyd activity on Sunday.

Sunday night, as we drove through Highland Village, we found that Apple, Sephora, Lulumon, J Crew, Crate & Barrel and Madewell were secured behind acres of plywood.

Even before looters smashed the windows at Forever 21 in The Galleria on Saturday, Saks Fifth Avenue was moving its handbags, fine jewelry and other merchandise off the floor.

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