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Businesses damaged in Kenosha unrest working to recover

Some struggling with catastrophic financial loss
Posted at 1:28 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 15:49:35-04

KENOSHA, Wis. – The city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is taking stock of the damage left in the wake of unrest following the shooting of Jacob Blake. As President Donald Trump made his first visit to Kenosha since the shooting Tuesday, small businesses were beginning to tally up the losses.

“You ain’t touching my dojo. That’s a fact,” taekwondo student Shelley Meyer said during a live-stream on Facebook as she stood guard outside her dojo.

“I’m getting scared. I know I’m a military vet, but I am outnumbered here,” she said.

That’s when a number of people confronted her.

“They came across the street and then attacked the school,” said Meyer.

She pleaded with the attackers before others stepped in.

“Then another group of protesters surrounded me and built a human shield.”

Today, the school is still standing.

“She singlehandedly geared up and, you know, begged and pleaded in the face of people spitting and throwing stuff at her, protected our building,” said U.S. Taekwondo Academy owner Jon Kim. He says the damages are estimated in the tens of thousands.

But down the block that night, another business was not so lucky.

“The cars are just blowing up one by one,” Meyer said during her live stream.

Like dominoes, the dealership’s cars detonated one tank at a time.

Witnesses say the flames started in one car and quickly engulfed the entire lot. The owners estimate the losses in the millions.

The inferno, which burned for hours, left more than 100 cars completely destroyed.

For owners Sahil and Anmol Khindri, their American dream has turned into a nightmare.

“We built this place up from the ground up. That office right there, as you can see, it's in ashes right now. It's done. It's gone,” said Anmol Khindri, co-owner of Car Source.

Charred scraps, shattered glass and tires melted to the core are all that remain.

“It's gonna cost us more money to remove this car off the lot than it's worth itself,” said Sahil Khindri.

More than a week since the destruction, they’re still not sure how they will recover financially. A GoFundMe page has been set up. They’re hoping for some assistance though, it’s unclear whether their insurance will pay out at all.

“We had nothing to do with it. And we were the ones who was getting penalized for this,” said Sahil Khindri.

It’s a similar story up and down Kenosha’s business district.

Boarded up storefronts are decorated with colorful messages of hope while masking the damage and loss.

Back at the taekwondo academy, their judo coin symbol has been painted outside the boarded-up exterior. Kim says it’s a symbol of resilience.

"The more that we can rely on each other, hopefully, you know, as a community, we can stay protected."