After Three Years, Businesses in Northern Minneapolis are Still Recovering from Fear

Three years ago, on May 25th, the Twin Cities neighborhood was rocked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. While much of the focus was on south Minneapolis, small businesses in north Minneapolis also suffered damage and losses. In the aftermath, government funding has helped some North Side businesses to reopen, with the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition providing significant funding to businesses affected by social unrest.

Tara Watson, who owns a building hosting several businesses including Watson Chiropractic and Anytime Fitness, remembered the fear and uncertainty that accompanied the unrest. Molotov cocktails and thrown objects damaged her building’s roof, with an estimated cost of over $100,000 to repair. But Watson could not secure funds to repair the roof, and insurance did not cover riot damage. However, the grant from the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition helped her to repair the damage and improve the building’s facade.

Osman Kamara, owner of Kay’s Grocery and Deli, rushed to his store when he learned that people were breaking into nearby stores. During the first week, five customers guarded him inside the deli while gunshots and other chaos filled the air outside. By the second week, only two customers remained, but their presence allowed Kamara to spend time with his family. Kamara received grants and low-interest loans from neighboring organizations to replace broken windows and a glass entry door, install window grates and roll-up gates to keep out intruders, and install an external camera system.

Warren McLean, chairman of the Northside Economic Opportunity Network, noted the ongoing effort to provide funding to black and BIPOC businesses affected by social unrest, with Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis contributing significantly. Despite the challenges, Watson and Kamara remain optimistic about the future of north Minneapolis, and the good that can come from the community’s response to a difficult situation.

In summary, the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police had significant impacts on small businesses in north Minneapolis. However, government funding and support from local organizations and communities have helped many businesses to reopen and recover from damage and losses. Despite the challenges, there remains optimism about the future of north Minneapolis and the opportunities for improvement and growth in the community.

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