Region Rallies To Help Ferguson Business Owners

by Greg Laposa | Mar 11, 2015

As a way of supporting Ferguson business owners in their efforts to rebuild after the damages incurred during the riots in November 2014, KSDK-TV partnered with the St. Louis Regional Chamber to launch the STL Together Fund.  Through the generous donations of viewers, at least 10 business owners received financial support to cover operational costs, salvage damaged property, recover lost inventory, and potentially retain employees.  Business owners received a small grant that can make a huge difference in the weeks ahead.

Queen K. Barnes-Greene will be able to use the money to clean her fire-damaged building and salvage some of her equipment so she does not have to start from scratch.  Cynthia Miskell was able to cover operational costs that endangered the viability of Knodel’s Bakery, an institution in Jennings since 1901.  Xao Ziao Jiang hopes to purchase a new refrigerator to replace one that had stopped working just days before he received his check. These are just a few of the stories of the business owners impacted by the STL Together Fund.

In the days ahead, demolition of the burned properties will begin.  Many in St. Louis, and in the Dellwood community in particular, will see this as a sign of healing—of moving forward. 

But, there is still much work to be done in Ferguson.  Now more than ever, St. Louis and the nation must continue to turn towards Ferguson and focus on helping business owners and residents move forward in rebuilding this historic community.

The Ferguson Commission is working to address the underlying social injustices revealed by the civil unrest.  Economic Development agencies will continue to identify ways of providing relief to business owners and attracting new investment to the community.  But, what can citizens of St. Louis do to get involved?

One way is to visit Ferguson and eat in a restaurant there.  Another is to continue to donate money to the gofundme accounts of business owners working to get the attention of the public.  Visit the “Get Involved” page of http://www.stlforward.com/get-involved/ to see a list of businesses that could still use your support.  But, ultimately, it is the responsibility of St. Louisans to stay engaged with Ferguson and the surrounding communities and to help our region progress.