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'The Fear You Can't Get Rid Of': One Santa Monica Business Owner Decides To Close For Good

A store in Santa Monica painted with graffiti. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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While reporting from downtown Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon, I met the owners of a store called Yak Exchange as they stood out front and tried to keep people from breaking in.

"I’m with the protestors," owner Psang Lhamo told me, "but there are a lot of other bad peoples, they’re trying to loot, which is not good, they are hurting all the businesses."

When I returned on Monday, their Tibetan boutique was nearly empty. The couple had moved out most of the merchandise.

On Wednesday, I finally caught up with them, and they confimed: After watching many of their neighbors' stores get broken into, they were closing down for good.

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"Now I don’t feel right about opening the store. What if another group of people come in and do it again?" said Tenzin Mutikdaktsang, Lhamo's husband.

Mutikdaktsang had already been considering closing down due to the coronavirus. He’d had no sales for two months, and he said his landlord wouldn’t give him a break. But the looting pushed him over the edge.

"Business can be OK, up and down, but the fear you can't get rid of," he said.

Mutidaksang said his two other stores in downtown L.A. will stay open.

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