Cleanup got underway early Sunday morning at the Delmar Loop after a small group of agitators vandalized nearly two dozen businesses.
Most of the businesses are locally-owned and operated, and owners, employees, and members of the community - including some of the peaceful protesters - came out as early as 1:30 a.m. to begin the cleanup process – sweeping up broken glass and covering broken windows with plywood. Artists have also made their way to the area to help decorate the plywood.
Some of the businesses affected include Salt + Smoke, Ranoush, Meshuggah Café, Racanelli’s, Hats-n-Stuff, Three Kings Pub, Iron Age Studios, and Ben & Jerry’s. But despite the damage, many of the businesses are open, continuing the serve customers.
Saturday night, Colette Morton marched at the Delmar Loop. The next morning, she and her family cleaned up the mess. Armed with brooms and paint brushes, dozens of volunteers helped clean up and repair the businesses.
“There's a beautiful quote from Mother Theresa. What you can spend years building, others can destroy overnight. But, build anyway,” said volunteer Matthew DeVoll.
DeVoll and his wife Aimee live near The Loop. After volunteering, they planned to bring family down to spend money in the area.
Jessica Bueler, owner of HSB Tobacconist, says even after insurance, the damage will cost her thousands. She’ll pay a deductible and overtime for her employees.
“Targeting small businesses and family owned businesses like ours is not the way to get the message out, to break our windows,” Bueler said.
But, she was heartened to see strangers come to her door, to create art and beauty after an ugly act.
The protest started early Saturday evening and remained peaceful before dispersing around 9 p.m. About an hour later a small group of separate individuals gathered at Delmar Boulevard and Leland Avenue, throwing rocks, bricks, water bottles filled with paint thinner, gasoline, and balloons filled with a red liquid similar to what was used the previous night in the Central West End. Some officers sustained minor injuries, but no officers or civilians were seriously injured.
While live on the air Saturday night, 5 On your Side’s Casey Nolen saw a woman sweeping up shattered glass.
“I’m extremely sad and disappointed. University City is better than this. We are known for our tolerance of all people, all creeds, all colors, all religions. This is ridiculous,” the unidentified woman said.
University City police say 23 businesses and more than five police vehicles were damaged. Approximately 10 people were arrested.
A GoFundMe was started to help small businesses at The Loop.
PHOTOS: Cleanup begins at The Loop