FERGUSON, Mo. — It is not typical for Maverick, a giant schnauzer, to guard the back door of Dan McMullen’s insurance agency here on West Florissant Avenue.
But since Mr. McMullen boarded up his business after demonstrators shattered some of his windows last week, he has kept the doors open to try, mostly in vain, to remind potential customers that automobile insurance is still for sale.
“He’s here to watch the back door because I have to sit and face the front,” Mr. McMullen said on Monday after another night of violent confrontations between the police and protesters angry about the Aug. 9 shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. “If someone wants to come through the back while I’m taking care of business, he’ll at least let me know that they’re there.”
In this city of about 21,000, West Florissant is a major thoroughfare and is lined with nail and hair salons, a few restaurants and an array of retailers. It is common to see commercial jetliners fly overhead as they arrive or depart from the nearby Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
But for more than a week, the road has been a battleground nearly every night.
On Sunday night, police officers in riot gear marched through smoke-filled streets. As midnight approached, the roadway was filled with debris: spent canisters of tear gas, wooden and rubber bullets, gray cinder blocks and shattered bottles.
But by the time the lunch hours arrived on Monday, the street was largely swept clean, sometimes by volunteers clutching black trash bags.
It was not so simple for Dellena Jones, who runs a hair salon where the door frame was free of glass on Monday. The night before, demonstrators had tossed concrete slabs into the business as Ms. Jones’s two children prepared for what had been scheduled as the first day of school.
As Ms. Jones waited for a wooden board to place over her door, she fretted about what might become of her business as customers have chosen to stay away.
“I had a full week that went down to really nothing,” she said. “They’re too scared to come.”
As she spoke, a man walked by and shouted, “You need a gun in there, lady!” If the unrest continues, Ms. Jones said she may have to meet customers elsewhere.
“I may have to go for a minute and work somewhere else,” she said. “But I’m paying rent here, so I will have to pay somewhere else to work, which is not fair.”
On Monday afternoon, the authorities appeared intent on taking control of West Florissant early in the day, well before the time the large numbers of demonstrators typically arrive. Six members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, with plastic flex-ties within easy reach, stood guard at a barbecue restaurant that has been a hub of the turmoil.
Just north of the restaurant, about 30 officers surrounded a convenience store that was heavily damaged early in the unrest. The officers barred people from stopping or congregating in the area, an order that provoked angry responses from some passers-by and demonstrators.
Earlier in the day, the authorities had approached a small group of demonstrators, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and told them to move along.
“We’re not doing anymore static protesting,” one state trooper said.
With the more forceful approach taking shape, Mr. McMullen was hopeful the police would soon quell the disturbances here. But he couldn’t predict precisely when that would take place.
“There will be an end in sight, but I don’t see it,” Mr. McMullen said.
John Eligon contributed reporting.
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