PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia business owners are not only dealing with the loss of revenue from the coronavirus shutdown but also from picking up the pieces left behind from lockdowns and looting.
A popular Center City shoe repair shop was closed for two-and-a-half months due to the pandemic. Then it was set on fire and yet the message the owners have for their community is one of gratitude.
With the smashing of glass and a flash of light, the American dream was wounded at 15th and Spruce Streets.
“Here I repair shoes, I copy keys,” Luis Guaricela said.
Guaricela has been repairing shoes and copying keys at his Center City business for nearly 20 years. It’s how he and his wife Maria built a life here, after moving from Ecuador.
“I always see my parents working all the time. They are hardworking people,” daughter Jessica Guaricela said.
Just before midnight on May 30, their business was among those vandalized by looters.
“That night I was at home watching the camera that I have in the store,” Luis Guaricela said.
His in-store surveillance camera captured the glass door being smashed open and several people entering. Among the items stolen was a laptop and cash saved for rent.
But the most frightening moment for the family was when a Molotov cocktail was tossed inside.
“That was very scary for me because people is living in this building,” Luis Guaricela said.
No one in the building was hurt, but the store was nearly gutted.
“We were very sad at first, but now we are very overwhelmed and very happy that a lot of people are helping us,” Jessica Guaricela said.
According to the family, their insurance is so far not covering the damage so Jessica Guaricela started a GoFundMe to help get her parents’ store back up and running. So far, it has raised over $9,000.
“I admire them and I am proud of them and I love them very much,” Jessica Guaricela said.
It’s a dream wounded but not broken. With that money, Luis Guaricela wants his customers to know he’ll be open as soon as he can.
“I’ll be open and working so they come and see me again,” he said.
The family says they want to thank all those who have rallied behind their store, adding that community members even came out to help them clean up after the fire.