The Central Ohio African-American Chamber of Commerce is helping several black-owned businesses pick up the pieces after being damaged during recent protests.
“It’s really diminishing and taking the eye off of the point of the demonstration, which is police brutality and the police mistreatment of our community,” says J. Averi Frost, executive director of the Central Ohio African-American Chamber of Commerce.
At least half a dozen black-owned businesses in downtown and the Short North suffered damage during mostly-peaceful protests, which followed the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
Frost says the few people causing destruction, whether white or black, are harming their own community.
“It’s just frustrating,” Frost says.
Frost estimates six businesses saw more than $100,000 in damages, and may struggle to get back on their feet - especially after the economic hit of the pandemic. Her organization is raising money to help owners pay the costs of rebuilding, and some entrepreneurs are holding their own fundraisers as well.
The business include:
- Sole Classics, 846 N.High Street
- Chunky Armadillo, 726 N. High Street
- Evolve Style Co., 415 E. Broad Street
- Supreme Cutz, 1355 N. High Street
- BurgerIM, 121 S. High Street
- Kiddie Academy, 37 N. High Street
Frost says the rebuilding process could take a while.
“There are some people, who after COVID and this unrest, are going to have a very specifically hard time opening up in a sustainable kind of way," Frost says. " I think people right now are making decisions as to what they’re going to do, and what their future looks like as far as entrepreneurship is concerned.”