Cup Foods prepares to reopen, talk about whether 38th & Chicago intersection should reopen
"George Floyd Square," an intersection that evokes powerful emotion.
“Yes, we had to. We had to come to pay respects,” says Albert Chambliss, visiting from Atlanta. “Crazy, everything that’s happened. Man, I’m still really lost for words.”
People gathered nearby to hear a woman reciting poetry on the closed street.
“We have to be thinking about what we can do. It’s important- so make moves,” she said.
Flowers, baskets, and Black Lives Matter signs dot the landscape.
Just outside Cup Foods, where Floyd was killed, many came by Sunday to pay tribute.
“We’re here to remember George Floyd and all the injustice that’s happening,” declared Kristen Fjeldstad, who came with her family from Bloomington. “For us, it’s important to show our kids kind of everything that’s here, and what it means.”
It was a Cup Foods employee who called Minneapolis Police on Memorial Day, to report Floyd had allegedly used a counterfeit bill.
Floyd died in police custody, just feet from the store entrance.
Cup Foods opened up for about four days after Floyd was killed but then closed again.
“We should have given it a thirty to forty-day mourning period,” says Jamar Nelson, a store spokesperson. “Not really realizing that people were in heavy mourning at that time. We should have respected that a little better.”
Monday morning, the store is planning to open its doors. Nelson says Cub Foods wants to be more community involved.
"You tell me where there’s a store that provides groceries and utility bills and things like that within miles of here,” he says. “There isn’t.”
Nelson says the store is “absolutely in favor of some type of memorial that absolutely captures what Floyd’s death means to this community.”
Mourning, loss, and healing are all here. But some worry about the timing of the reopening.
“I’ve been here since ’71,” says Tahasha Harpole. “I am deeply saddened that Mr. Floyd lost his life, and that happened in our streets, the streets that I grew up on.”
Harpole says the intersection isn’t ready to reopen. She says instead, the closed sections of the road should be expanded.
"A bigger statement needs to be made. This needs to be closed up and way more,” Harpole says. “Keeping this an autonomous zone is making a statement to the world that we’re just not ready as a people to just say, oh, things are hunky-dory.”
She notes that Cup Foods has been in the community for 30 years. But she thinks there needs to be more dialogue about the reopening.
“I think them reopening tomorrow might not be the greatest idea, because I don’t think we’re clear on how we’re going to work together as a community,” Harpole says.
Fjeldstad says whether to open or not reopen is a difficult decision. She hopes some kind of memorial for Floyd will remain.
"I know it’s important also for businesses to reopen, but right now I think there’s a lot going on in the world,” she says. “I think it’s important to have some symbols here."
A City of Minneapolis spokesperson says no date has been announced for opening 38th and Chicago, but that ‘city staff and policymakers are working closely with the community on ideas’ for the area.
Nelson says Cup Foods plans to open its doors at nine Monday morning.
Chambliss overwhelmed at seeing the Floyd memorial in person, says he hopes Minneapolis will heal.
“I think they should have more people supporting until we start seeing a change,” he says. “It’s not going to change until we change it ourselves.”