CHICAGO (CBS) — Small business owners who were looted early Monday morning spent the rest of the day trying to get their stores back together.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina found a florist in Streeterville where looters did not steal flowers. They just destroyed the place.
The florist opened just a few months ago. On Monday, blue and white floral arrangements made it to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker’s BlueCross BlueShield news conference.
“It was just like being in two different worlds,” said Gur Manhas, husband of City Scents owner Nima Manhas.
Hours earlier, the owners were walking through broken glass and wreckage to get those bouquets together.
“It was difficult to see the shop like this,” Nima Manhas said.
The refrigerators were shattered, the computers were broken, and the new small business at 209 E. Ohio St. was totally ransacked.
“All of us are trying to get back to normal, and it’s just so difficult,” Nima Manhas said.
They did deal with some theft.
“Just garbage and trash everywhere,” said Gur Manhas.
But for the most part, City Scents Flowers was destroyed for the sake of destruction – almost eerily so.
You can see the flowers behind the broken refrigerators still arranged in place.
“It seemed like the purpose was just to damage,” Gur Manhas said.
Their purpose since taking over in April is supporting their community, even when it meant closing down during the protests in May after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
“We handed out daisies and white roses to protestors to show support for the protesters,” Nima Manhas said.
“We do not believe that the violence that occurred this morning had anything to do with any kind of social justice theme,” Gur Manhas said.
Now, as they process and finish picking up the pieces, things that can be replaced.
“We don’t want people to move away from the city,” Gur Manhas said.
Their focus is on a feeling throughout the city right now that’s not as easily replaceable.
“I think it’s important for everyone to feel safe in our community,” Nima Manhas said.
City Scents is hoping to open back up soon in Streeterville. And on Monday night, like other businesses in this area, big and small, all hit in the early morning, they’re asking for one thing – protection from the city.