For a long time, Main Street in Salt Lake City defined the makeup, character, and tapestry of the city. Naturally, it should be a showplace for downtown Salt Lake City businesses.
Unfortunately, downtown Salt Lake City is suffering. The homeless problem downtown has become difficult for local business owners to deal with.
On this week’s Utah Stories podcast, Teresa Bowman, who has owned Mid City Salon since 1997, came on the program to discuss her experience.
“It’s been really hard,” Bowman said, describing running a business on Main Street. She mentioned a city official advising her to hire a security guard, which she couldn’t afford. On the Fox News she described some of the issues she’s been having such as chairs being thrown off the building and ruining the awning, men masturbating in front of her salon staff, and human feces being left in front of the salon door almost daily.
“I can’t keep girls working here. They don’t feel safe. I don’t feel safe. Nobody feels safe,” Bowman said.
Some businesses on Main Street have closed or moved due to this problem. One of them is Southam Gallery which was on Main Street for 45 years. “They’re making it hard to stay in business,” Bowman said.
According to Bowman the homeless and business owners used to work together to create a conducive environment. “I knew most of them by name. We were more like a community. It wasn’t like we were scared and they weren’t scared of us,” Bowman said. That all changed in the past few years with instituting ‘abetments’.
Now there is lots of fear and animosity between business owners and the homeless and nobody to turn to for help. Bowman said the police were told by the mayor to let the homeless go and to turn away. “He [a policeman] said we’re not supposed to touch the homeless.”
As a consequence, Bowman moved her salon to Trolley Square.