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Damaged Birmingham businesses getting volunteer help after damage

Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 9:31 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Dozens of businesses began cleaning up Monday after serious damage to their stores and buildings last night because of some rioters.

One retail store has been in downtown Birmingham for 30 years. It was the old Woolsworth before that. Its future is in question, but it got some help Monday from people they didn’t even know.

The California Fashion Mall was hit by rioters Sunday night. It caught on fire causing extensive damage.

“Something real serious. So when I came here it catches on fire and I just praying,” David Kim, Owner of California Fashion Mall said.

Kim said he has around $200,000 worth of retail goods inside the store. Much of that was lost. The building is still intact. “The building is pretty strong. A historic building.” Kim said.

Monday complete strangers showed up to help with the cleanup. This included one group out of Norwood to help board up the building. A close friend of the Kim family also came out to do what he could to help the family. “It’s a place I grew up. Friend of mine’s family. We would come down here during the summer time and work,” Chris Shepard said.

The people who came said they did so to help out just as if a tornado hit. "I mean it’s hard to see what happened and the contradiction the people here come to help out. Birmingham is a an amazing community,” Shepard said.

Despite the damage it left Kim emotional at all of the volunteer help. 'Today I realize again l’m lucky enough to be an American," Kim said.

Some businesses had insurance. Others decided to pay for damage themselves because of the high deductible. It’s a struggle for them. Many are understanding of the anger over George Floyd but not this damage to their business.

A gofundme account has been set up to help Kim.

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