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'It's just been heartbreaking': Green Bay store owners react to damage, unrest

(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 5:48 PM CDT
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Business owners in Downtown Green Bay fear for their stores overnight, as some people break away from the protest and damage multiple storefronts.

A shattered window and some broken glass outside of Furs & Clothing of Distinction serve as a reminder to the chaos that broke out on Sunday night after an otherwise peaceful weekend of protesting.

"It's just been heartbreaking. I think that's the only way I can describe it," said Jill Muenster, business manager of Furs & Clothing of Distinction. "Heartbreaking for everything that's going on throughout the country and heartbreaking for small businesses who have had some ramifications of this."

Volunteers sweep glass off of the sidewalk in front of the store. Dozens clean the community on Monday unhappy with how the criminal actions of a few are overshadowing the peaceful protest of many.

"I don't think they're here for the movement, and I think they're just disgracing what everyone's been trying to do and trying to help prove," said Aryelle Moder, a teenager who helped with cleanup.

Moder was joined by dozens of other volunteers including some who stood among the protesters this weekend.

"There are people dying because of their race, and as the new generation, we have to stand with them," she said. "We have to make a better world for our kids."

Another block down the street, Vibe GB made it through the chaos untouched.

"We actually found out through the grapevine and had people messaging us asking us if our business was ok or if there was anything they could do to help," said Lisa Craanen, owner of Vibe GB. "So, we started looking at our cameras, because obviously I wasn't going to come down here during that time, and we just kept an eye on the cameras and prayed for peace."

Craanen calls it a sad time as she watches her small business neighbors pick up the pieces.

"We're responsible for not only keeping these businesses afloat during this time, but now we're fixing things," she said. "We're fixing windows and doors, and people are now afraid to even come down to this area, because they don't know what's going on."

At Furs & Clothing of Distinction, Muenster remains optimistic despite the damage.

"We just have the one window damaged and it can be replaced. It will be replaced. We're still going to be here open for business," said Muenster

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