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Businesses on Indy's Mass Ave. hope the community returns

Posted at 9:01 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 21:01:17-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The COVID-19 pandemic caused a major impact on small businesses along Mass Ave. but now that they are back open, they are dealing with boarded up windows due to recent protests that turned violent in Indianapolis.

Locked doors, boarded up windows and empty sidewalks along Indy's Mass Ave. The Garden Table is one of the few places on Thursday that had customers. The general manager said it was a similar scene last weekend after protests turned violent and deadly.

"On Sunday, we were here to provide that hospitality, that space in the community where people feel like they can go and it's an open space and it's a loving space and we are going to provide that all weekend," Craig Rogers, general manager of The Garden Table, said.

Employees spent the day Thursday painting a mural outside of the building.

"There's also going to be part of the design that says, 'Live Like Chris,'" Rogers said. "Our owners were very good friends with Chris Beaty who was murdered on Saturday. We want to make sure we can memorialize him as well as send out the message that we want to send."

Just doors down, Stout's Footwear is also welcoming people inside after vandals broke four windows last weekend.

"They spraypainted on the side of our walls and they dented in the front of our window," Robert Stapleton, of Stout's Footwear, said. "Luckily, they didn't get any shoes. They didn't get inside."

As it all unfolded, Ripley, their parrot who has been at the store for 22 years, was inside.

"We were all very concerned and there was nothing that could be done," Stapleton said.

All the damage comes just weeks after the store was forced to close during the pandemic and now they are just hopeful that people will come back because right now they need their support.

"Come back, shop, get some shoes, get some food, come down to Mass Avenue," Stapleton said.

Employees at the businesses are hopeful that this weekend's protests will remain peaceful as they have been the last few days in Indianapolis and families will being to return to their stores.