By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The business owners of Lake Street in Minneapolis are showing their resiliency following this summer’s unrest.

More than 400 businesses were damaged, according to Allison Sharkey, the executive director of the Lake Street Council. She says more than half have re-opened.

Julian Ocampo and his family own one of those businesses, a restaurant called Los Ocampo near Lake Street and Chicago Avenue. Ocampo says the restaurant was heavily damaged, and windows were broken out at a different property the family owns near Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue.

He worked on repairs to that building Thursday.

“[Our plan is] to have this building, and have events upstairs, have tenants here in the basement and have a restaurant tenant, too,” Ocampo said.

Their family decided not to abandon the community they love.

“We have a lot of faith on Lake Street here in this neighborhood, and we’re going to stay here no matter what damage happens,” Ocampo said.

Sharkey says virtually every business owner she’s talked to in the last four months wants to stay as well.

“These entrepreneurs are super resilient. It’s never been easy for people to open and run a profitable small business,” Sharkey said. “They’re putting everything they have, you know, back into this community.”

The Lake Street Council has raised $11 million from 85,000 donors. Sharkey says $5 million of that has been distributed to 320 businesses.

The next round of allocations will go to businesses that sustained heavier damage, new spaces for displaced entrepreneurs and financing to help rebuild from the ground up.

Ocampo says he has no resentment toward the rioters. He called it the proper response to what happened to Floyd.

“We rebuilt, and sure we were closed for three months, but you know we’re still here and we’re back like nothing happened, whereas you know, somebody lost their life,” he said. “That’s an important thing to think about.”

The city of Minneapolis has secured $2 million to go toward removing rubble of businesses that were destroyed.

To donate to the Lake Street fund, go to www.VisitLakeStreet.com.

David Schuman

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