Donation drive set for La Mesa store pillaged during riot

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LA MESA, Calif. – Three weeks after rioters and looters wreaked havoc in downtown La Mesa, the community will hold a donation drive Wednesday for a store heavily damaged during the protests.

People were asked to bring gently-used sporting goods to Play it Again Sports to help the once-thriving business get back on its feet.

“Before, I always thought I was pretty generous.” said Dan Buxton, owner of used sporting goods store. “But then once I started seeing the generosity of everybody else — people who didn’t even know me — it made me realize I should be more generous than I have been, and so yeah, I think I have changed. I am looking to help people as often as I can.”

Buxton and his family experienced their share of violence and loss the night of May 30, when a peaceful  protest prompted by the death of George Floyd erupted into rioting and looting. 
His store, located in the La Mesa Springs parking lot, was nearly destroyed and his inventory of new and used sporting goods was a total loss.

“I don’t like thinking about it, because it’s not a good memory. But what happened since I think is a better relationship with all of San Diego,” Buxton said.

The day after the riots, hundreds of strangers showed up at his business to help clean up.

“We’re pretty new to the community,” Buxton said. “People didn’t know us, but they came and supported us completely.”

And the community generosity hasn’t stopped. When word got out that Buxton’s insurance will only cover half the damage, the donations began to pour in.  While FOX 5 was talking with Buxton, a woman donated golf clubs and and a bike and a man brought in some skis.

Wednesday, local radio station San Diego’s ROCK 105.3 has scheduled a donation drive for the business.  The station will broadcast live from from the store from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.   So while some people in La Mesa are still angry over what happened, Buxton has found much to be thankful about.

“We got to meet a whole bunch of great people,” he said. 

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