After days of unrest in Baltimore following the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray who died from injuries sustained while in police custody, shoe stores are among a growing number of Baltimore-based businesses impacted by looters and rioters.
According to reports out of Baltimore – DTLR, Shoe City and Sportsmart are among the footwear retailers whose stores are being impacted by the destruction after protests which started peacefully on Saturday took a violent turn on Monday.
“Seven of our Baltimore City-area stores have been hit with looting,” Brett Foelber, marketing manager for the 66-year-old Baltimore-based Shoe City told FN. “Obviously, there has been significant damage and we’re now going through the process of assessing how much damage it really is and how much it will cost.”
DTLR, a retailer of street-inspired footwear, apparel and accessories with over 100 stores across the country, retweeted images of a devastated DTLR store location in which crumpled plastic bags depicting the company’s black and burgundy logo appeared strewn about a floor alongside trampled Nike shoe boxes.
The company also took to its Instagram to share a photo of a destroyed storefront.
DTLR Nation, we are hurt by the unrest in Baltimore right now. The death of #FreddieGray has this city in a such a state that they are tearing down the establishments that invest in the city. Please Pray for Baltimore. In the words of President Obama "We as a country have to do some soul-searching. This is not new. This has been going on for decades". #DTLRradio
While Sportsmart, a local athletic shoe retailer that has operated in East Baltimore since 1980, had its Facebook page inundated with comments from concerned posters encouraging the store’s owners to rebuild following an attack on the store by looters.
One Facebook user commented today: “Prayers going out to the owner of this store for continuing to stay and rebuild. I was impressed his interview and his tenacious attitude to stay after such devastation. Peace, love and hope for helping to build a better world!”
Foelber said the city has become a lot more “peaceful and positive” in the last 24 hours and that he’s optimistic that Shoe City will rebound and rebuild in the weeks ahead.
“Since we started in Baltimore 66 years ago, we’ve been a positive staple and strong community supporters,” said Foelber. “We realize that Baltimore is going through tough times but we look forward to continuing to support our community and we hope to come back stronger than ever.”
Since 1949, Shoe City has been a staple of positive influence and community uplifting in Baltimore. It is with saddened hearts that we as a community are forced to deal with acts of destruction and violence. Shoe City applauds those who have been protesting in peace and encourages individuals to empower others by acting proactively and constructively. We pray for protection for ALL the citizens of Baltimore including our police department and first responders. We pray for strategic guidance from our leaders, and to our Mayor, Governor, and President, we support you. We ask God to heal the brokenness and forgive the crude acts that have affected us all. We will continue to support and rebuild in the city we proudly call our home – Baltimore. Your City, My City, Shoe City