Downtown Cleveland businesses stock up on security ahead of Republican National Convention

Posted at 11:36 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 23:36:17-04

With just five days to go until the Republican National Convention, safety and security on the top of everyone's minds.

You'll see obvious things the city is doing -- new see-through trash cans and no-scale fencing already placed through downtown.

And then behind the scenes, training police officers every chance they have.

But businesses in and around the secure zone, for the most part, have to fend for themselves -- and hope for the best.

Many business owners said they're taking a "wait and see" approach.

Lisa Rubin owns Jerold Optical on Huron Rd.and she is taking a vacation.

In the 70 years the store has been open, first owned by Rubin's father, they have never taken a week off.

But nestled in the "extra hard perimeter" just steps away from Quicken Loans Arena and potential protesters, she thinks next week is a good time for some R&R her and her seven employees.

"A paid vacation," she said laughing. "But I am worried, a little uneasy. Please, make it a peaceful, wonderful time."

The store already has tight security already in place from past break-ins, with mounted cameras and gates covering the large plate-glass windows.

All product will be stored in a safe place and the alarm company is on alert.

"Our glass company that has helped us three other times we've been broken into already has the boards ready for board-up service so yeah, we're proactive," Rubin said. Her husband's store two doors down, Prospect Music, will also close its doors for RNC week.

Other businesses are staying put and taking the matter into their own hands.

One way is through a pepper-spray gel called Safe Zone CM, manufactured by Chagrin Falls-based Alternative Defense Strategies.

The non-lethal gel is more targeted than pepper spray, shoots from up to 25 feet away -- and burns and stings for up to 45 minutes. After that, you're back to normal.

Lori O'Neill is the company's president and said they've already supplied the product to several downtown hotels, bars and restaurants that wanted extra help feeling safe during the convention.

"They wanted something that could help ensure the safety of their customers and employee, but they also don't want to harm anybody," O'Neill said.