Downtown Charleston business owner shares experience after violent protest

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Businesses in Downtown Charleston are still cleaning up after last Saturday’s protest took a violent turn.

Walking down king street, you can still see damages from broken glass to boarded up windows.

Some business are still able to welcome in customers while others are temporarily closed.

One King Street business made out alright, but not before sustaining thousands of dollars in damages and stolen property.

Around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday May 30th, Kelly Grossman, the owner of Art Mecca of Charleston received a disheartening phone call from her security company, ADT.

“That phone call meant people were inside my business,” said Grossman. “I knew that people were in here looting and stealing.”

Fearing the worst, Grossman considered herself lucky when she arrived Sunday morning.

The damages were upsetting, but not the catastrophe she expected.

“There was glass everywhere,” said Grossman. The door was shattered, the jewelry case was shattered.”

Art and jewelry were stolen or damaged in the sum of $9,000.

“The first thing I did was call Charleston Glass to get the door repaired, but now, I’ve kind of decided to not get it repaired because I’m not sure how much protesting is going to keep happening so I’m going to stay boarded up,” said Grossman.

When she, and other downtown business owners, do decide to make repairs, the City of Charleston is here to help.

City council decided to waive all fees associated with fixing buildings for those who sustained damage during the May 30th riots.

That includes application fees, inspection fees, and more, which can add up to hundreds of dollars, according to Jacob Lindsey, the planning director for the city.

“That’s one of the biggest things we can do,” said Lindsey. “In addition to that, we’ve also decided to move all of these reviews to the front of the line so they’ll receive the first review and we’ll get them in and out of the door as soon as possible.”

So far, the City of Charleston has processed eight different applications for building repairs and they expect many more will come in as business owners feel its safe to take down the boards.

This financial relief will help Grossman, and other business owners, during these emotional times.

“What’s been hard for me and really emotional is having to call these artists and tell them that their stuff was stolen,” said Grossman.

Luckily, she says the artists have been understanding and kind and are happy Grossman and the rest of the staff at Art Mecca of Charleston are safe.

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