CHICAGO (CBS) — As Chicago police are planning for some protests Saturday in the downtown area, local businesses are bracing for them.
Some stores were looted twice this summer and warn they won’t survive if that happens again.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports from the Loop with more on how stores are preparing.
The businesses, business organizations are all adamant: They welcome protesters. They welcome peaceful protesters, but when things like busted windows — stolen merchandise occurs
Shops around the Loop once again boarding up windows in advance of Saturday’s protest. Many are still boarded up from looting on August 10, like Paul Young Fine Jewelers.
Owner Paul Cha said criminals spent hours in his store and got away with more than $100,000 in jewelry and damage.
As for what could happen this weekend…
“Praying and hopefully it’s just gonna be peaceful marching and protesting,” Cha said.
“I’m nervous,” said Michael Edwards, President and CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance. He said the looting and vandalism in late May impacted at least 45 businesses. Some remained boarded up. The August unrest impacted about 20.
He said companies are pleased to see more police but business owners still feel uneasy.
“There’s a heightened sense of anxiety for business on State Street and throughout the Loop,” Edwards said.
“If there is a third instance of looting this summer…
“I hate to think what would happen. It’s just too much,” Edwards said.
“If they get looted again, they’re leaving River North.”
Marty Padilla, President of the Greater River North Businesses Association said around a third of the neighborhood’s high profile businesses were hit in the most recent unrest. Many were hit twice this summer.
Between COVID and vandalism, she described River North business owners as frustrated and uncertain, but hopeful the worst is behind them.
“I am cautiously optimistic that the city is doing everything they can,” Padilla said.
Back at the jewelry store, Cha is making sales and making plans to safeguard his rings and other valuable things. He’s focused on his customers and not criminals.
“There are great people in Chicago, not only looters,” Cha said. “We have good people in Chicago.”