SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Small business owners in Santa Monica say that after the protests and looting, they still have a very strong message to share.
Geoff Wood Patterson inherited the Hi De Ho Comics business five years ago, when his dad passed away. There are two locations, one in Gardena and one in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. A little over a week ago, he watched his store get vandalized on live television, as looters broke into it during the first Santa Monica protests.
“It seems kinda silly to integrate superheroes into something so serious but to me, superheroes are heroes and they are the people we can always look to because they don’t make mistakes because they are fictional,” Patterson said.
Not even 24 hours after the looting, Patterson and his staff were outside, with a clear message.
"The people are not marching because the people are a-holes," he said. "They are marching because the government is using everything they can to keep the status quo exactly the same before all this happened. ”
Patterson's best friend Mauricio Machuca is also a co-owner of the store and shares similar sentiments.
“I don’t condone looting, but I completely understand why it happened," said Machuca. "It's really important to let people know where we stand because property can be replaced, fixtures, product can be replaced, human lives can’t be replaced.”
They had just re-opened a few days prior when the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted when the store was looted. The local community has come out to support the store by setting up a GoFundMe page to help them pay for damages. It's already surpassed its goal.
Aaron Ghiradelli is a professor at Loyola Law School and a Santa Monica resident. He is originally from Italy, and has lived in Santa Monica for the past 10 years. He wanted to come support his favorite comic book store .
“This store it feels like home, they feel like family,” said Ghiradelli.