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Englewood, Chatham

Englewood Residents Work To Help Small Businesses After A Weekend Of Devastation

"We wanted to show the city and the community that we are still standing with them and that we will continue to support."

Cavell Ball and Gerrell Tucker of Englewood help board up the windows of a looted beauty supplies shop in Auburn Gresham on June 1, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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ENGLEWOOD — Residents and business owners across the Southwest Side are coming together to rebuild and help small businesses after days of vandalism.

Devastated by destruction on the South Side, two people — Joseph Williams, founder of Mr. Dad’s Fathers Club, and Jurema Gorham, founder of Burst Into Books — have launched a GoFundMe for businesses affected by looting. So far, they’ve raised more than $1,700 of their $20,000 goal.

“We want to go to these small businesses to find out what they need to get back up and running and provide them with help,” Gorham said. “They may be better than where they were before the looting.”

Money raised so far has gone toward covering the cost of boarding windows and cleanups. Recently, the team also helped MBM Dance Company owner Barbie Jones with a community cleanup effort, and they’re planning to send volunteers to Grand Boulevard Plaza to help clean up George’s Beverage Depot.

“The inside is torn up right now, so they’re going to need people,” Williams said. “And we’ve got volunteers for days, it seems like, so if he needs help rebuilding shelves, or anything else, we’re there.

“A lot of businesses in our community just didn’t have any support, and we wanted to help out in a time of need. We wanted to show the city and the community that we are still standing with them and that we will continue to support.”

The Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation is covering security costs for small business owners unable to handle them on their own. The United Protection Agency — also based in Englewood — had security workers begin a watch this week, and they’ll continue working the rest of this month, said Derrick Warren, executive director of the Greater Englewood Community group.

Several stores have signed up for security so far, including John’s Drive-In, Kusanya Cafe and Englewood Hardware, whose owner sent Warren’s group a note of appreciation, he said in a statement.

The organization hopes more Englewood businesses in need of security will reach out for help.

“The [Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation] just wanted to let our small businesses and community residents know we’re here to help in this time of crisis,” said Rhea Steele, the organization’s small business adviser.

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