Ferguson business owners still haven’t recovered from riots one year on

© RT
Just after the Ferguson, Missouri riots a year ago, St. Louis County officials said the expense to local and state governments amounted to $5.7 million. That estimate has now ballooned to $26 million and small business owners are still struggling to cope.

The new county estimates include police overtime, fixing damaged cop cars, and food and supplies. They also take into account the cost of bringing in the Missouri State Highway Patrol and National Guard, according to Hoosierecon.com. The sum doesn’t include the extensive losses incurred by small business owners.

One of those affected is Idowu Ajibola, who told RT his Rehoboth Pharmacy in Ferguson has been burned, looted and vandalized not once, but twice over the last year. The storefront windows were all broken.

That was all I had, that’s all my family had. It was the source of our income; it was the source of our revenue. We built it with our own money, with savings, with the retirement money,” he said.

He has yet to see any support from the state.

We didn’t really get any help from the state. The St. Louis County gave us some legal assistance, which is very, very appreciated. They gave us some free interest loans, and some $5,000 grant.”

Adjibola told RT that he is yet to recover and has lost somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000. He said he was misinformed by local officials about what would likely happen if the grand jury failed to indict the police officer who killed Michael Brown, and thinks he could have done more to protect his business.

How much insurance companies paid out to Ferguson business owners and the extent of the damages to businesses is still unknown.

READ MORE: 150 people arrested over 2 days in Ferguson, state of emergency still in effect

Roughly 40 to 60 percent of the small businesses affected by the riots never reopened their doors following the disaster. The Property Casualty 360 website said that those which do face higher insurance costs, which usually are passed on to the customer. This ensures that a few more businesses will be driven away.

Another obstacle is lack of business. CBS affiliate in St. Louis KMOX cited one business owner as saying sales were down by 40 percent.