MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — New numbers paint a bigger picture of just how damaging last week’s riots were in Minneapolis.
The fires and looting started Wednesday night after false rumors spread about an officer-involved shooting that was actually the suicide of a murder suspect on Nicollet Mall.
The city says at least 133 buildings were damaged during the chaos, with some housing several businesses.
The carpet at the Franklin-Nicollet Liquor store was replaced less than a month ago. Owner Mike Moore swapped it out, fixed the broken windows and restocked the shelves after looters invaded his store in May. It all happened again last Wednesday night.
“They went through the inside and just broke anything they could,” Moore said.
He watched people clear out his store. The damage this time was worse than the last one. Moore estimates half-a-million dollars in losses — on top of the $250,000 from last time.
“You wake up thinking, ‘What’s next?’ Every time the phone rings, you think, ‘Oh darn, what’s going to happen now?’” Moore said.
He expects most of it to be covered by insurance. And he’s lucky, because aside from insurance, help may not be coming.
The state’s request for FEMA funding was denied, so was the appeal. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says it doesn’t have direct assistance for business owners like Olson who were hit by the unrest. This is because the Minnesota legislature didn’t approve any additional resources for that specifically. The state’s commerce department can help with some insurance snag, and the SBA has low-interest disaster loans.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is doing things like waiving permit fees, but admits his requests for rapid federal and state aid have not come through.
“if it happens again, I really don’t know what my plan is,” Moore said.
He’s less concerned about reopening Wednesday, and more worried he won’t be able to cash out his retirement after 40 years in business.
“I don’t know if it’s sellable, to tell you the truth,” he said. “It’s a nightmare. It’s a vicious nightmare.”
Here is Mayor Frey’s full statement:
Earlier this year our team deployed targeted, no-interest forgivable loans for small businesses and this summer we reallocated funding to our commercial property development fund – another key economic development tool. We are also working with businesses and waiving permit fees while providing stepped up levels of technical assistance. But with hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue in the city budget this year alone, we have asked for rapid federal and state aid to support our small businesses. Unfortunately, that support has not come through. We will got to the mat for our local businesses and wont’ quit until we are back on track.
Minneapolis officials say businesses impacted by the unrest in May and June can access SBA property damage and economic injury loans. They are still evaluating the steps for businesses hit last week to apply for similar relief. Small business teams and BTAP resources are available for people to get help with their insurance applications. All fees for recovery have been dropped.