Report: Damage to St. Paul businesses during riots totaled $82 million

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City officials say looting, fires and vandalism in late May caused approximately $82 million in damages in St. Paul, primarily in the Midway and Frogtown neighborhoods.

According to a report from the city’s Planning and Economic Development department, an estimated $73 million of property damage and $8.8 million in loss of inventory and other business assets is linked to the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Approximately 330 St. Paul businesses sustained damage ranging from broken windows to total destruction.

Some businesses, such as Elsa’s House of Sleep on University Avenue, are still open but say they’re facing a dropoff in foot traffic sales because neighboring businesses have been closed since the rioting.

Patrick Davis has worked at Elsa’s for 18 years and told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS business has been good despite a lower inventory and clearly less business coming through the door for the first time off the street.

"People will come and park and walk, from store, to store and pop in and see what you have," said Davis. "It’s a chance to create new customers, but that type of foot traffic has almost totally went away."

Davis said even losing competitors just down the street, such as The Furniture Barn, has had a negative effect on the business at Elsa’s since the rioting.

"We used to share customers with Furniture Barn and it was good for both of us," Davis said. "Now, they are closed and that type of back-and-forth business and competition for the best prices is gone."

The city says it’s still trying to find money to help businesses rebuild, but it’s facing a deficit because of the coronavirus pandemic — as are Ramsey County and the state of Minnesota.

"The city will not stop fighting to ensure no one is left behind amid this ongoing public health and economic crisis," St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement.