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Ferguson Businesses Open Again; Long-term Impact Unknown

Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)

Most Ferguson businesses affected by Sunday night’s riots have re-opened their doors, although many of their windows are covered in plywood.

At Zisser Auto & Tire, owner John Zisser chose to paint the wood covering the business’ floor-to-ceiling windows.

Yet his emotions remain raw about Sunday night’s riots and looting.

"It was just devastating. It took the life right out of me," he said. "Twenty-five, 30, 40 people just walking through and taking anything out they could carry."

Zisser’s business has been on West Florissant Avenue since 1987 and he says he’s had few problems until now. While insurance will cover much of the damage and merchandise, Zisser said the events following Michael Brown’s death are bad for business in St. Louis as a whole.

"I think it hurts everything, the whole city," he said. "Just look at the people who are in charge of signing up their convention to come to St. Louis who go, 'I don’t think I want to go there anymore.'"

Even so, Zisser and other business owners said they’ve seen an outpouring of community support.

Credit Maria Altman (St. Louis Public Radio)
Volunteers clean up along West Florissant Avenue on Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday morning, dozens of volunteers walked along West Florissant Avenue with trash bags picking up debris and attempting to diffuse some of the anger that’s boiled up in this suburb.

Yevette Bonds lives in unincorporated north county and came with several members of her church to join the clean-up effort.

"It’s been a tragic event," she said. "We’re just out here doing what we can to help the community."

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman at the North County Chamber of Commerce said it’s too soon to know what the long-term effects of the riots will have on businesses here.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.