Downtown music venue's window smashed, owner says it's becoming 'impossible to make money'

You can hear the sound of frustration and defeat in Tom Lucier's voice as he describes the front window of Phog Lounge getting smashed, a downtown business he's owned for nearly 20 years.

'The downtown needs special care and it needs medical professionals,' says Tom Lucier

Phog Lounge owner Tom Lucier estimates it'll cost $2,000 to fix the broken window and he's considering putting up painted plywood instead. (Jason Viau/CBC)

You can hear the sound of frustration and defeat in Tom Lucier's voice as he describes the front window getting smashed at Phog Lounge, a downtown business he's owned for nearly 20 years.

Although Lucier learned about the vandalism Sunday evening, he said it happened around 10 a.m. the same day. Sunday was the final day of the Windsor International Film Festival, which is headquartered just steps away from Phog, and Lucier thinks the area would have been busy at the time.

Several years ago, issues around broken windows stemmed from people who had too much to drink, Lucier recalls. Now, he said he's witnessing people with mental health issues or drug problems causing some of the damage.

"The downtown needs special care and it needs medical professionals. No one doesn't think this. Everyone knows it's an issue," Lucier tells CBC News.

Ultimately, he's asking for the municipality and other community organizations to step up and spend money on putting health professionals downtown. Lucier said he wants to see those who are most vulnerable get the services they need.

"Don't push them down the street, figure out how to get them off the street. That's it. The money is not being spent," said Lucier.

The large window of Phog Lounge was smashed Sunday morning in downtown Windsor. (Jason Viau/CBC)

He estimates it'll cost him $2,000 to replace the large, glass window shattered over the weekend. Lucier even considered keeping it boarded up with plywood and regularly painting it to avoid the possibility of it being broken again.

"This is absurd. It is impossible to make money downtown when this happens," said Lucier.

DWBIA has program helping cover cost of broken windows

The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA) has a program that covers 50 per cent of the cost of broken windows for business owners.

This year, the DWBIA paid out $2,843 for six claims of broken windows among downtown businesses. In 2021, there were three separate expenses covered totalling $1,165.

Phog Lounge — a popular and iconic music venue — is no stranger to vandalism over its 19 years in business on University Avenue West near Victoria Avenue. The same front window was shattered several years ago when someone shot through it with a pellet gun and other property has been defaced too.

As a small business owner, Lucier said he feels "kicked in the teeth" when these things happen, and as though he's "getting financially undercut."

'It's kind of the cost of doing business'

Ward 3 councillor-elect Renaldo Agostino said the downtown area is getting better and appears to be on an upward trajectory.

Ward 3 councillor-elect Renaldo Agostino said he's disappointed to learn the window of a downtown business was smashed. (Jason Viau/CBC)

He also owns the Turbo Espresso Bar on the busy corner of Ouellette Avenue and University Avenue and said he's had two smashed windows within the last year.

"It's kind of the cost of doing business. It's nothing new," said Agostino, who said he paid $750 out of pocket to replace one window after the DWBIA covered the other half.

Once he officially becomes a member of Windsor city council later this month, Agostino said improving the core will be his main priority.

Two windows have been smashed at the Turbo Espresso Bar in downtown Windsor within the last year. (Jason Viau/CBC)

To mitigate vandalism, Agostino said bringing more people and events is one way to help.

He also envisions having more security personnel downtown to act as "ambassadors" who will provide a presence and "proactively supporting downtown Windsor."


Jason Viau


Jason Viau is reporter for CBC News based in Windsor, Ont. He has an interest in telling stories related to accountability, policing, court, crime and municipal affairs. You can email story ideas and tips to