After a thief burglarized Englewood Branded, 1546 W. 63rd Street, Oct. 29, community members rallied behind owner Corie Luckett to show their support. Credit: Allies for Community Business

ENGLEWOOD — Corie Luckett never dropped the security gates over his Englewood business at night.

As the owner of Englewood Branded, 1546 W. 63rd St., Luckett said he kept the gates up since the clothing store opened three years ago. He wanted to show neighbors he trusted them and invite people to shop at the store, he said.

On Oct. 29, the Friday before Halloween, someone broke into Luckett’s store, breaking the glass and stealing clothing. Luckett estimated the damage in total to be about $3,700.

“The unfortunate part is that someone felt the need to do what they did,” Luckett said. “Even during the riots, no one touched my store.”

But despite the burglary, Luckett said he plans to keep “showing up and showing out” for the community.

Now, with The Resident Association of Greater Englewood: RAGE, an organization that supports neighborhood residents, by his side, Luckett is receiving support across the city.

“In spite of what happened, I wouldn’t change anything,” Luckett said. “I want people in Englewood to see that even though that happens, it’s just one apple. There are still many people in my community that love what we’re doing and they represent us and support us.”

Asiaha Butler, founder of the community organization, said she was disheartened when Luckett called and told her about the robbery at Englewood Branded.

Englewood Branded has been a member of the organization for four years, so she knew the work Luckett has done for the community, she said.

“He was really down about it. He had never closed his shutters before,” Butler said. “He’s always kind of trusted the community and never felt like he needed his shutters down. So it was sad that someone chose to do this.”

On Nov. 3, Butler met with a cohort of members joining the group’s Re-Up program — an initiative that aims to reinvest in the community. One of the pillars of the group’s mission is to support Black-owned businesses.

The timing of the meeting couldn’t have been better, Butler said.

“One of the things that we do within the Re-Up program is cash mobs,” Butler said. “We promote a business and encourage all of our members, followers and supporters to go to that store, spend money and really show support. So it really made sense after such a dynamic first meeting that we reactivate the cash mobs and find a way to support him.”

Butler took to Instagram, sharing post after post to encourage the group’s followers to show support and visit Englewood Branded that Saturday.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CV6PQACvFDj/

By the time Saturday rolled around, people from around the city were in the store shopping and showing their support, Butler said. A few of the store’s items are even sold out now.

“The Re-Up is all about the economic upliftment of the people, the residents and the businesses of Englewood,” Butler said. “Our goal was to Re-Up Corie after the burglary. We have a very small number of Black-owned businesses, so whatever we can do to support them, we will do it.”

Luckett said in addition to shoppers visiting his store for the first time, he also saw a few familiar faces.

“They know what I do for the community, so for them to reach out to me was an amazing feeling,” Luckett said. “It brought some new people in, but it brought people in that normally shop anyway, and that was great to see.”

In the days ahead, Luckett said he might drop the security gates over his business some days. “Fool me once,” he said.

But his goal is to focus on the positive and work toward creating a brighter and better Englewood.

“At the end of the day, I will not allow [the thief] to spoil the plans that I have for the future or the community, nor for my mental well-being,” Luckett said. “Going forward, I want to grow and provide more opportunities for the community and the brand. I want to ensure that Branded Englewood stands up and really does the work in the community.”

You can check out Branded Englewood’s online store here.

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Atavia Reed is a reporter for Block Club Chicago, covering the Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Chatham neighborhoods. Twitter @ataviawrotethis