Downtown Spokane hooligans threaten new business



Posted on September 19, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 1:24 PM

SPOKANE-- Downtown Spokane business owners say a group of teenage loiterers continues to hurt sales. One business said they might have to close up shop.

Teens were recently kicked out of the STA Plaza smoking area and are now hanging out on Wall Street.

Police are frequently getting called and some business owners are even hiring security to keep these kids under control.

Beignets is in its second month of business and is already facing closure.

“Our business is literally half of what it was. We're a brand new business we're struggling anyway to get the startup cost going,” said owner Judie Sowards

Sowards says a bunch of teens loitering down the block are scaring people off. “They come by and ask for food from customers, they ask for money, ask for beer…several people on the patio said they won’t be back because they feel it's a crime area.”

18 year old Chris Lane told KREM 2 News everyone's got it wrong. “They’re stereotyping our group. We're just a bunch of people who like to hang out, get together and see each other.”

His group doesn't cause trouble according to lane. He doesn't understand why they keep getting kicked out. “Honestly it upsets me, I don't like it, it's our place to hang out….eventually we're not gonna have any place to hang out anymore.”

If these teens stay, beignets might not have a business anymore according to Sowards.

Not all the kids are "bad kid" according to Sowards, and she wishes there was a way to help them. For now, her main concern is keeping her business afloat.