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How Independent Retailers Are Moving Forward Amid Unrest

As independent shoe stores shuttered due to COVID-19 are now getting back to business, some have been hit with damage to their stores amid unrest around the country this weekend.

At Benjamin Lovell Shoes, general manager John Holder noted the chain’s Philadelphia store on Chestnut Street suffered damage.

“We were hit,” he said. “We didn’t lose much, but are now boarded up. It’s a sad time and our country needs change.” To help move the nation forward, Holden said the store is supporting The Sentencing Project, an organization working for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system, as its way to get involved and make a difference.

In Indianapolis, Stout’s, a four-store chain, was impacted at its downtown store on Massachusetts Avenue, according to manager Sara Klimenko, who said five of the store’s eight windows were broken. While no merchandise was stolen, shoes on display in the window were damaged. In addition, she noted dumpsters in the back of the store were also set on fire.

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The store was able to reopen today, with windows boarded up until the glass can be replaced. Klimenko also noted that the store’s resident blue macaw, who was unharmed, has been stationed at the front door to greet shoppers.

Mosser’s Shoes in Champaign, Ill., a family-owned business, saw looters on Sunday afternoon break the glass entrance to the store, leaving with boxes of shoes along with a flat-screen television, according to a report in The News-Gazette, which covers 11 counties in the eastern portion of Central Illinois.

There were stores that escaped damage, including Minnesota retailer Schuler Shoes. “Our store on Ford Parkway in St. Paul was very close to the looting and damage last Thursday as our two next door neighbors, a jeweler and a Walgreens, were both broken into, as well as the Target across the street,” said CEO John Schuler CEO. While the St. Paul store closed for about a day and a half, it reopened on Saturday. “We talked about boarding up our windows, but decided not to, and fortunately no damage. We’re keeping a close eye on the news and ready to respond as needed for the safety of our employees.”

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