HYDE PARK — The owner of the Kimbark Beverage Shoppe asked insurers to “pay out quickly” following recent looting across the city during a press conference with Gov. JB Pritzker Monday.
Jonathan Swain owns the liquor store at 1214 E. 53rd St., which was looted May 31 and has remained closed since. To reopen, he must pay staff to help clean up, replace fixtures and technology, and purchase new inventory.
Quick insurance payments are necessary because small businesses like his don’t make huge profits, he said. The longer their doors are closed, the more likely they are to fail.
“Small business owners — in particular Black business owners — do not have the strong balance sheets that are full with cash to use to pay some of these upfront costs,” Swain said. “We’re trying to get our business open now.”
Swain has owned the store for the last 12 years; his parents purchased the shop in 1974 and it has remained in the family since. The Swains were one of the first Black business owners in Hyde Park, he said.
In his appearance, Swain distanced the looters who hit his store from the peaceful protesters.
“Our business was broken into by those not connected to the protesting, but who used the guise of civil unrest to steal, to burglarize us,” he said.
Swain organized a GoFundMe to help pay the salaries of 16 staff members while the business is closed.
No estimated reopening date was given, but Swain estimated it will take $35,000 to pay salaries through the store’s closure. The business will contribute $10,000, and as of Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe had raised about $22,000.
The boarded-up exterior of the Kimbark Beverage Shoppe now features a mural with the Chicago flag, “Hyde Park” and “Black Businesses Matter” prominently featured.
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