Residents of Seminole Heights seek out local businesses in wake of fourth killing

Posted at 12:25 AM, Nov 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 02:34:27-05

TAMPA, Fla  -- The entire Seminole Heights community is still reeling from the four murders there. Now many restaurants and businesses are working to make customers feel safe, some adding extra security.

The entire neighborhood seems to want life to get back to normal and some patrons said they are making it a point to support Seminole Heights.

"We want to get out and support the businesses and we want to live our life and we want to be able to walk in our neighborhood," Mindy Fisher said.

This Saturday night dinner is incredibly important for three friends, who are purposely trying Olde Heights Bistro in Seminole Heights for the first time.

"We feel that they are being impacted on all this, you know, serial killer hoopla, and we want to make sure that we come out and support them and spend our money in our local restaurants," Fisher said.

It's a gesture the manager at the Bistro appreciates, as many restaurants in the Seminole Heights community are feeling the brunt of violence nearby.

"The numbers are down, that is a fact, the numbers are down, but you can see that everyone is going we've got this, we're fine, we're going to do this," manager of Olde Heights Bistro Natalia Mendez said.

The Bistro closed for a day after the fourth murder, but they said, now customers gather here to talk about what's happening.

"People that we rely upon are from the neighborhood, they're already here they're not seeing the outside image of Seminole Heights, they love us, they want to come here, and do that, sit and talk with their neighbors," Mendez said.

Down the street, at Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe, a manager said they've added extra lighting and they walk people to their cars at night. They've also added extra events to bring people out, like Wednesday's Turkey Bowling.

"You definitely have to make a conscious effort to go out," Fisher said. "Sundays at Ella's are the best, so if we feel like going there for that we'll do that and not even think about what's going on in this general area."

Restaurant owners continue to work together to get business back to normal.

"We've got e-mails and plans, what can we do to make it so that we stay vibrant, that we create an atmosphere that's safe for people, and that's helping a lot," Mendez said.