CHICAGO (CBS) — The owner of a South Side business said he stood guard at his store trying to deter looters, but then it became too much.
The owner watched as looters overtook his shop.
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas had the story Monday night of that business owner and his uphill battle.
“All my dad could do was just watch,” said Hannah Marie Kim. “He was just so helpless.”
The Kim family knew what they’d see at their store, City Fashions, on Monday morning. But that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking.
“All he had to do was just come in and just watch them and just take everything that was ours,” Hannah Kim said, and I think that’s fair for us, because we’re small business owners.”
Hannah Kim said her parents moved to Chicago from South Korea in the 1980s. After decades of hard work, they opened the city fashions boutique in Bronzeville about nine years ago.
Her father, Hak,said he was at the store Sunday when someone broke their window.
“I grab him say, please don’t do it, get out of here,” Hak Kim said.
He said he convinced that person and a few others to go away without stealing anything.
But as the day went on, the crowds grew, and Hak said around 8 p.m., his employee convinced him the safe thing to do was to leave the store. So he did, and then Hak said he watched from the parking lot as 20 to 30 people ransacked and looted the place.
“Protest, people hanging around, I understand. but why they broke the small business? Why they broke the store and take the merchandise,” he said. “It’s not right. That’s not right.”
It all happened half a mile from Police Headquarters, and other businesses nearby were also hit.
Volunteers helped clean up not just Kim’s store, but the Walgreens next door, including Ashley Russell, who lives in the neighborhood.
“It just looked like chaos,” Russell said. “It looked terrible.”
The Kims own another store in the city, and they say that was also looted, but not as badly.
They are still sorting through what’s missing. The family said the looters took the most expensive items in the store.
Even more devastating, Kim said he was in the middle of shopping for a new insurance policy – so the family’s stores are not covered.
The family said they have moved much of what is left out of the store in case they get looted again. They also boarded up the windows, but they are pleading with the looters to please stay away.