People around America have been reaching out to help us with donations and equipment for her new store, Lee said. The Ferguson verdict revealed and uncovered deeper societal issues, but I think its unfair overall, he said. Business owners had nothing to do with this.
Morris has plans to open a temporary location in Ferguson with the donations, but would like to eventually rebuild in her old spot. Fashions R Boutique was founded about 30 years ago with $135 and a borrowed credit card.
I expected a few broken windows at best, Morris said, reflecting on the aftermath.
The power of online funding platforms and the generosity of strangers has been surprising, too. I knew nothing about crowdfunding, Morris said. Its blown my mind.Lending and borrowing
While some entrepreneurs have turned to online funding platforms, others are rebuilding with traditional lending sources.
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, for example, is offering zero-interest loans for some affected businesses. Among the loan recipients are Briant Mitchells BKM Fitness Bootcamp.
Mitchells fitness center is near the Ferguson Police Department. The business was vandalized twice--once after Browns killing in August and after the grand jury announcement.
I lost 75 percent of my business, Mitchell said. My rent is about $4,000 a month and I have had to dip into my personal savings account, as my business dropped between $12,000 and $15,000 a month.
Slowly customers are coming back, said Mitchell, who refuses to shut down or relocate. He said standing firm and repairing business are key to the citys healing process. Mitchell has borrowed $10,000 through the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, with a five-year term, which he plans to use to advertise.
The organization has doled out 49 loans and grants to business owners, all totaling near $500,000, said Katy Jamboretz, a spokeswoman for the development partnership.
Bigger picture, it has been challenging calculating the total damage to local businesses, and lost foot traffic and physical damage to stores are estimates at best. The City of Ferguson said a total damage amount figure is not yet available.
Ive never had to take out a loan before, Mitchell said. I hope this helps to bring back my business. People want to live a longer and healthier life, and I am here to help them succeed.