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Posted under: Business News

Black-Owned Businesses Destroyed During Protests Need The Public's Help As They Look To Bounce Back

Janice Wilbourn hid in the basement when looters smashed the windows of her Atlanta store.

Black business owners were already facing a huge hurdle after the coronavirus forced them to shut their doors for several months. Now, several businesses also face the task of recovering from the damages they sustained after protests over the killing of George Floyd

Business owners have already begun reaching out to their communities for support, hoping to fix their broken windows and doors, replace their stolen items and clean up their vandalized buildings. Here are some businesses looking for assistance.  


Self-Defense Business In Long Beach Is Burned Down
Zahalea Anderson had been running her school of self-defense in Long Beach, California, for 25 years. But all of that was lost after the store burned down during the riots. 

Marie Hosep, who set up a GoFundMe account to support the business, urged the community to come together for Anderson.

"It is easy to say 'Black Lives Matter,' but if we do not rally behind our Black brothers and sisters in times of need, then our words are EMPTY," Hosep wrote. 


Wilbourn Sisters Designs In Atlanta Is Destroyed
Janice Wilbourn hid in the basement when looters smashed the windows of her Atlanta store.

“It was a tragedy and it was a moment that I'll never forget," the store owner told 11 Alive. "I happened to be here that night, Saturday night when it happened at 11:30 pm.”

Even with a sign identifying Wilbourn Sisters Designs as a Black-owned business, Wilbourn wasn't able to prevent the damage. Still, she remains hopeful about the next steps to recovery. 

"We’re going to take this and keep moving,” the business owner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s not going to tear us apart.”

Fundraising campaigns have been set up on the store's website


Owner Of Burger IM Forced To Pick Up Pieces
Wes Williams found his restaurant in Dallas destroyed after the riots. According to The Dallas Morning News, Williams opened Burger IM last year. But now, the business owner is picking up the glass pieces in his restaurant.

“I couldn’t get mad that my glass got broken, because I understood exactly why it happened,” he told The Morning News.

Williams said he owns the first and only Black-owned restaurant/bar in the history of the West End in Downtown Dallas. 

The business owner has been getting support from the community, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

"A big thank you to @mcuban for stopping by and showing support to my resturant...great covo...also thanks for hoping on Facetime with my mom," Williams wrote on Instagram. 


Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine Suffers Severe Damage

The recent chaos is especially devastating for Black business owners who came as immigrants and put in years of hard work to establish their foundation in a foreign country. Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine in St. Paul, Minnesota, is one of those Black-owned, immigrant-owned businesses that sustained severe damage during the riots. 

Owners Rekik Abaineh and her husband Solomon Hailie were devastated to see their Ethiopian restaurant completely damaged after the first night of rioting.

"My husband and I went Friday morning to see what was left of it — and the whole neighborhood was out crying. It was so hard to see the building like that," Abaineh told ABC News.

Still, the couple doesn't hold any anger toward protesters.

"We were very sad to see what happened that day. We totally understand the anger of the people who are out there for justice," Abaineh said. "If this is what it takes to bring justice to unfairly treated [people] all these years, then we're fine, we'll be OK. It's just the business that we lost and can rebuild in the future."

Donations to Bolé Ethiopian Cuisine can be made here.  


Chicago Furniture Warehouse In Minneapolis Burned Down

Chicago Furniture Warehouse in Minneapolis was completely burned down after the riots. Friends of the business owner said they are now coming together to support the man who has always been there for the community.

"The owner of Chicago Furniture Warehouse, Faisal, has always graciously supported the Black Community in Minneapolis for 25+ years," the friends stated on the GoFundMe fundraiser page. "During his time in business he has been more than a family to many minorities by giving jobs, by guiding and by supporting."

The owner responded on Facebook.

"Thank you for this amazing community for all the positive messages we have gotten," he wrote. "We pray for healing for our community and everyone that’s affected. Again thank you for your support and prays."

Despite the severe damage, Faisal remains optimistic.

"Our store has been burnt down, but that is not the last of us," the business owner wrote. "With the help and patience of our community, we will be back stronger than ever. We ask our customers to give us a little time to sort out things and plan our next move."


KB Balla's Business Hadn't Even Opened Yet

Minneapolis firefighter Korboi Balla was also left to pick up the pieces when Scores Sports Bar, his establishment that hasn't even opened yet, was looted and destroyed in the early stages of the protests on May 27. Shortly after his story was featured on Inside Edition, his GoFundMe far exceeded its $100,000 goal with over a million dollars in donations. Other businesses, thus far, have not been so lucky. 

Many more Black-owned businesses are still looking for help. Metro Behavioral Health in Minneapolis was completely burned down during uprisings. The owners of the 10-year-old business have set up a GoFundMe account, saying they hope to "rebuild a safe space and continue to provide vital mental health services to our communities."

RCR Consignment, a high-end luxury business in Atlanta, also faced devastation. The owners also set up a GoFundMe account, saying "the business was damaged and merchandise was stolen." Still, they continued to show support for the movement by posting a black square on Instagram and writing #BlackTuesday, #WeMatter.

Other Black businesses looking for assistance include APT.4B Concept Shop,  Smokes n’ Things, Juiced Up VaporsGuns and Roses Boutique and SacDelux

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