Businesses in downtown Erie are beginning to reopen despite facing destruction from Saturday’s riot.
Arson and shattered glass are some of the things that businesses along State Street had to overcome in order to welcome back their customers. Owners say that although there was some property damage, there is something to be thankful for and that no lives were lost.
Protesters damaged more than a dozen businesses within the city of Erie during a riot. One of the owners explained that she believed it was also a protester who saved her business.
“There was a protester that came and pulled an item that was in fire out of our window and probably saved the business, so incredibly grateful for that.” said Hannah Kirby, owner of Ember + Forge.
Something that is playing a role in helping these businesses recover is the outreach from the community.
“The city people, they help me a lot. Our neighbors, they help us a lot.” said Lucky Singh, owner of Lucky’s Food Mart.
Although the offices of one organization was damaged, they say there is a much bigger issue we need to keep in mind.
“We are standing by and waiting for when that time is right, but for now, we are going to listen to the voices that have been ignored for so long and so we want to be a part of that change and assist progressing Erie forward in this unity and where it needs to be.” said Aaron Cooney.
Each of the businesses say they are working with police to provide any surveillance footage they may have from Saturday night. One owner is reacting to the arrest warrant out for 28-year old Melquin Barnett, who was allegedly caught on video starting a fire inside her coffee shop.
“I think our life is to have compassion for that person and understand why. So, for us, it’s not something we are gung ho to see somebody’s life get ruined because of some minor damage to our building.” Kirby said.
The City of Erie is also working to help restore these businesses through the Flagship Fund grant. Any businesses that were damaged in result of the riot can apply for up to $1,000 in funding.
Each of the businesses we spoke to today explained that they’re still waiting on an estimate to see how much the repairs will cost.