September 21, 2020

How Chicago’s streetwear boutiques are making it through COVID-19, looting (LIVE UPDATES)

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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Chicago’s streetwear boutiques weather COVID-19, social unrest
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
Michael Willis, co-owner of Pillars, a shoe/clothing boutique in the West Loop, poses for a picture in the shop.

Even as Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot were giving the go-ahead to reopen stores while adhering with social distancing guidelines, the streetwear boutiques were grappling as well with the ever-constant threat of burglary.

Some of them were looted during the protests in the aftermath of the May police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the Aug. 9 shooting of a 20-year-old in Englewood by Chicago police and the protests over the police shooting of Kenosha, Wisconsin resident Jacob Blake. Some were burglarized duirng the weeks in between.

Brittany Stewart, owner of Chatham’s Sweats X Stew, had been hit a few times before moving from her 75th Street location. Stewart, 30 — the daughter of Diego Ross, co-owner of Leaders 1354 — said would-be burglars aren’t thinking of the collateral damage looting does to Black business owners.

“This can be your sister or your brother’s store, or your cousin’s store,” said Stewart. “It’s upsetting because these are my peers. … After I got hit, I could’ve moved downtown or to the North Side. I wanted to stay in my community.”

The owners of Pillars, a boutique with locations in the West Loop and Calumet Heights, discovered both stores had been hit as co-owner Michael Willis went to check on the West Loop location, while his business partner Andre Weaver drove to the South Side store.

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“You almost forgot about COVID [-19] because so much more is going on,” said Willis, 31. “By the time I got to this store, it was crazy. It seemed like the movie ‘The Purge.’ All this from the front [of the store], all the way to the back door; everything was basically gone.

“It’s very upsetting. You sit back and you’re like: ‘Why me? Why us?’ At the end of the day, I understand the reason — not particularly [the looters’] reasoning — with the looting going on, but you never want something that’s yours being damaged or taken away from you, especially when you busted your a- – to get it. If it happens next time, we’re prepared.”

Read Evan F. Moore’s full story here.

10:30 a.m. Chicago staple Ronny’s Steakhouse closes

After over 55 years of feeding hungry Chicagoans, downtown staple Ronny’s Steakhouse has closed its doors for good.

“Farewell, Chicago … It has been an historic run; it’s time to turn off that famous neon sign one final time” read a message posted Sunday on the restaurants Facebook page.

“My family is grateful to the city of Chicago. It means a lot to us as we have been a meaningful part of a rich civic history,” owner Kenny Munic said Sunday. “We are grateful to our staff and guests for their loyal and unwavering support …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times


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