BURLINGTON – Business owners on Church Street were left struggling yesterday after the cancellation of the “March For Justice” organized by civic group “Vermonters For Donuts.” V.F.D. was planning to protest the recent closure of The Doughnut Dilemma on on Main Street, but the organizer came down with a digestive issue and was unable to lead the march. This last-minute cancellation meant that, for the first time in over twenty-three years, no one protested anything downtown in an entire 24-hour period.
“It was terrifying,” says Brandon St. Roux, the daytime manager at Saratoga Olive Oil Company, one of Burlington’s many olive oil boutiques. “You could just look out the window and see that something was missing. All of those tourists out there, expecting to see some signs and hear some chanting, will they be back tomorrow? When they get home, what will they tell their friends? This could affect business and tourism in Burlington for years.”
One business owner, who asked not to be identified, claimed that he was on the verge of making his own sign and going out to start a makeshift protest, but was unable to come up with something that hadn’t already been publicly vilified. Not wanting to be accused of protest plagiarism, he opted instead to stay in the store and apologize to customers, assuring them that the locals were usually much more upset.
Whether crowds will still gather today for the “Save the Gourds” rally remains to be seen. Business owners are wary, but hopeful. Time will tell if the levels of activism can regain their momentum after such a long stretch of peaceful commerce.