It’s been four months since more than 400 Baltimore businesses were damaged in riots following the death of Freddie Gray. Most — but not all — of those businesses have reopened, although some are still struggling to get back the customers they lost.
Six weeks after the April riots, the windows of Taylor Alexander’s women’s clothing store were still boarded up. Her shop, Flawless Damsels, was so empty inside that her voice echoed off the walls when she described what it used to look like before looters cleared her out.
But this past weekend was an entirely different story. The store, located near the city’s downtown, was crammed with people helping Alexander celebrate her grand reopening. There were a DJ who had the music blaring and free cupcakes. The walls were covered with the latest fall fashions and handbags. A glass display case was filled with jewelry.
Alexander was able to reopen because she got a no-interest loan of up to $35,000 from the city. Friends and family raised $7,000 online to help her restock. She also had to make some changes, including installing metal shutters to cover the doors and windows at night. But Alexander says she never doubted she’d be back in business.
Credit: Pam Fessler/NPR