Ferguson businesses grow
FERGUSON - Three years after the shooting death of Michael Brown and the protests following it, officials in Ferguson say the city has been growing economically.
Protests erupted after Michael Brown was shot three years ago, leading several protesters to break windows and loot businesses in Ferguson. Other stores were burned and even demolished. However, the city said Ferguson has been growing economically since then.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said there are more businesses in the city now than in 2014 before the protests.
"Just go down the street and look at what was damaged. If you compare video footage driving down the street to see the new buildings that were built, the new businesses that are here there was some pretty impressive developments and pretty impressive investments that have been made in the community,” Knowles said.
Janiece Andrews owns Hidden Treasures, a local Ferguson business that opened almost seven years ago. Her boutique was destroyed during the protests in 2014.
"My store was destroyed the night they gave the decision of if Darren Wilson would be innocent or guilty,” Andrews said. “I lost everything. It was looted and burned. We lost everything. It was my love, my passion, and my livelihood.”
Andrews then began to rebuild her boutique. After nearly two years, it reopened in May 2016. She said the community really helped her pull through as she received $15,000 from a GoFundMe page.
“I would have to credit God, the support of my family, the support of anonymous donators and those who donated to help me get back going. That played a big factor in helping me be able to come back.”
Gerry Noll is the owner of Ferguson Bicycle Shop and said his business was not damaged, but sales dropped the month after Michael Brown was shot. However, he said the store has ‘rebounded’ in part because of the community support. He said bicyclists will go out of their way to stop off at Ferguson businesses to support them.
"A lot of people have come specifically to support Ferguson,” Noll said. “Different groups of bicyclists came to the shop and said ‘I just want to buy something from you.’”