Kenosha on road to recovery after riots
The riots in Kenosha destroyed more than 35 small businesses and damaged 80
Nine months after the riots that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, businesses in the small Wisconsin community are still rebuilding.
While some remain boarded up and out of business, others have reopened and tried to regain a sense of hope.
"Most of the businesses that went through so much last year between the pandemic and the rioting are back on that road to recovery," FOX Business’ Grady Trimble told Mornings with Maria.
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According to the city’s business association, the riots destroyed more than 35 small businesses and damaged 80, many locally owned or uninsured.
B&L Office Furniture is one of Kenosha’s many businesses that is still healing in the wake of the civil unrest. The family-run furniture supply shop sustained between $1.5 million to $2 million in damages. Only a couple walls still stand after fires ravaged the storefront and burned down remaining goods to ashes, including all of the furniture.
Support from the local community has helped store owner Scott Carpenter build back a new store. In addition to federal grants and insurance money on the building, a GoFundMe campaign raised $50,000 for construction of the new building just four miles away.
"That helped out tremendously to help fill in the areas where finances were just not here," Carpenter told Trimble. "The outpouring of support of people really is what fueled the fire to keep us going. It’s just amazing stuff when people reach out to you like that."
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Although the new facility is much smaller, Carpenter said they are open and business is back in full operation.
Plans to redevelop damaged portions of Kenosha cost the city an estimated $50 million. For many businesses, the recovery process means not only rebuilding, but relocating. Some businesses, including Carpenter's, have opted to rebuild away from uptown where the violence and looting took place. Much of the area resembles a graveyard with boarded-up businesses and graffiti plastering crumbling brick walls.
But the reopening of the economy across the country and a return to normalcy have propelled Kenosha business owners meshed in the vandalism to find resiliency and renewal.
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"It seems to be pretty calm," Carpenter said. "I have customers down there, and there’s places that I buy from down there. I talked to the other business owners, and they’re excited to be back open. They want to go forward and just pick up where we left off before the pandemic and hope for a better year this year."