CHICAGO (CBS) —Three generations opened and closed a Mag Mile store for decades.
Then, the May 2020 unrest happened and the family business was destroyed. They reopened Friday. CBS 2’s Jermont Terry shows their comeback.READ MORE: City Hall, Chicago FOP File Dueling Lawsuits In Heated Standoff Over Vaccine Mandate
The registers are working and customers are finally back inside Chicago Sports.
“We are an independent family store. We like to buy unique merchandise.”
Today, the shelves are restocked and there’s plenty of Chicago sports apparel to pick up. But 16 months ago during the May 2020 riots, owner Luke Pesha can’t forget what happened to the family business.
“I went out to look at our cameras, Pesha said. “You could see the looting was going on. When I got home and checked the computer there was a little flame in the corner and one by one lost the cameras until we saw on the news the whole building was in flames.”
While covering the city’s unrest, CBS 2 captured the moment three generations of work went up in smoke, Pesha, like so many, watched in disbelief. But for the family…
“For us, when you see what was going on, it was personal. We’ve been here for long time,” Pesha said.READ MORE: Illinois Democrats Look To Increase Edge With New Congressional Maps
Since 1991, Chicago Sports occupied a premier Michigan Avenue location. But reopening wasn’t an easy task.
“The extent of the fire was in the walls. It was everywhere,” Pesha said, who added that the damage required re-gutting the two level store.
“It was elevator destroyed. It was ceilings gone,” he said.
Yet Pesha said the family never thought to take the insurance money and move on. Instead, more than year later, and what seem like never ending construction, Chicago Sports emerged from the ashes.
“It’s a part of our history. It’s no longer painful,” Pesha said. “It’s more this happened, now look what happened because of this.”
And when Pesha looks out of his front door he sees more than just Michigan Avenue.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Showers Followed By A Sunny Weekend
“I see the flowers on Michigan Avenue. I see the stoop I sat on when the fire was burning. I was out there earlier today and said we made it. We’re back.”