Ferguson businesses may have to close their door forever due to the damage and looting which occurred in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting. For the past 10 days, riots have gone on all but one evening in the St. Louis suburb.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a funeral for Mike Brown is slated to take place on Monday. A grand jury could convene over possible criminal charges involving Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson as early as tomorrow. Either one of the events could spark increased rioting and looting in the area.
The town of Ferguson remains primarily quiet during the daylight hours, with residents and outsiders exercising their free speech rights by chanting and carrying signs along the sidewalk. It is the late evening hours that Ferguson businesses fear. A host of viral videos on YouTube show primarily young people breaking into stores after hours or merely running in while the business is open and stealing anything that is not nailed down.
Regional Business Council Executive Director Kathleen Osborn said that Ferguson businesses are “hurting.” According to Osborn, approximately 25 stores have been impacted directly by violence, insurance estimates on the damage likely will not occur until after the rioting ends. She also went on to note that even those store which were not looted or vandalized have suffered because many Ferguson residents are concerned about leaving their homes.
The business council director also had this to say about Ferguson businesses:
“The tragedy of it is that we are talking about small businesses. Yet they are extraordinarily resilient. Some of these business owners get up in the morning, clean up their damage and open their stores. The problem is that you can’t get them fully back in order until you know there won’t be any more damage.”
During an interview with CNN, Subway restaurant owner Ali Rafiq said his business is in the heart of the Ferguson riot zone. According to Rafiq, the Subway restaurant has lost about 60 percent of its typical daily revenue since the Michael Brown shooting. The store owner blamed both protesters and the media for taking up parking spaces and leaving very few spots for real customers. “It’s almost more of an issue to go up to people and ask them to move their car and get backlash. It’s easier to let them park,” the Ferguson Subway owner said.
The start of the school year in the community remains delayed, presumably due to safety fears. “We believe that closing schools for the rest of this week will allow needed time for peace and stability to be restored to our community and allow families to plan ahead for the additional days that children will be out of school,” a statement from the local school district reads.
[Images Via St.Louis Post Dispatch and Economic Policy Journal]