ChiHair Imports was looted and vandalized last week. Its owner China McNeal is now raising money to rebuild her business.

NEAR NORTH SIDE — A family is raising money online to try to rebuild after their salon was damaged by people looting last week.

China McNeil opened ChiHair Imports about five years ago but has been in the hair business for more than 20 years. The salon, 674 N. Dearborn St., sells hair extensions and wigs.

The shop was among those targeted last week by people looting in the Loop and surrounding areas. The unrest began after police shot a 20-year-old man in Englewood, though those arrested for the thefts did not mention a connection to the shooting in court, the Tribune reported.

The fundraiser for ChiHair Imports was started by the owner’s daughter, who wrote on GoFundMe her mother had “lost everything she has worked for in one day.” The campaign has raised more than $6,000 so far, but the family-owned salon is trying to get at least $10,000 to rebuild.

McNeil’s daughter expressed solidarity with protesters condemning the killing of Black people at the hands of police, but said “in these moments of solidarity however, businesses have been destroyed.”

ChiHair Imports owner China McNeil (far right). YouTube

“It was so devastating to see that this was not a typical robbery,” McNeil said. “Our store has been broken into before, but this was not your typical robbery.”

McNeil said she has never seen anything like what happened last week. Groups of people came into the store, broke glass and stole merchandise and computers, McNeil said.

“My heart is still very heavy, and I’m feeling very, almost numb, because this is the first time in Chicago that I’ve ever seen anything like this happen,” she said.  

McNeil estimated the looting will set her store back at least a year in revenue. She said that she is trying to pick up the remnants of the devastation to her store and restock her inventory.

Money from the GoFundMe that her daughter began allowed McNeil to board up her store and purchase a few blow dryers and curling irons. She said she was heartened by the response to the fundraiser and the support she has received from donors.

“That GoFundMe has been one of the best things that has happened because the people, they are so loving and caring,” she said.

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