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Hundreds of businesses apply for grants from Seattle to repair storefront damage

Seattle businesses struggling with break-ins are resorting to not carrying cash and other tactics to deter thieves.

SEATTLE — A popular restaurant in East Lake posted to social media that it was broken into for the 18th time since the pandemic. Surrounding businesses have also been victims of break-ins and are now changing their tactics and no longer carrying cash.

"Gratitude shifts attitude" is the motto of Datza Yoga Studio in Eastlake and its owner is living by those words after a break in Memorial Day 2020. 

“One of the things that yoga teaches you is that life thrives on change and I just have to accept and move forward,” said Datza Tamane.

Tamane said a couple broke in around 3 a.m. and cleared out the studio.

“He went over to the counter because he thought there would be some cash. The girl went and got crystals, tarot cards and they cleaned everything out,” said Tamane.

Now, she’s scaled back what she sells.

“I would love to have more little things to sell for our students but having less retail so they don't have a reason to break in, and that's why I transitioned to plants too because it's hard to take plants in boxes,” Tamane said.

While the break-in resulted in thousands of dollars of lost merchandise, Tamane is grateful the studio didn’t have major damage aside from a broken lock. Tamane said she’s considered applying for Seattle’s storefront repair fund.

“That's why I've been debating applying or not because some businesses have their windows damaged really bad,” Tamane said.

At least six businesses in East Lake have applied for the fund, including Serafina who posted on its social media it recently was broken into for the 18th time.

Seattle’s storefront repair fund allows small businesses to apply for grants to pay for or reimburse property damage repairs. Since applications opened more than a month ago 430 businesses have applied to date. 

The City’s Office of Economic Development uses a dashboard to track applications and a map shows the need is widespread. Data shows the majority of businesses that apply are restaurants followed by retail stores.

The program is funded by federal money the city received for economic recovery. The application is first come first serve and the damage must have occurred on or after Jan. 1, 2021.

Eligible property damages include broken windows, broken doors, broken locks, and etching on windows. 

Tamane just asks for people to help look out for one another.

    

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