Updated: April 05, 2021 06:54 PM
Created: April 05, 2021 05:59 PM
A Minneapolis dental clinic destroyed during the unrest last May is preparing to reopen.
Chicago Lake Family Dental is a minority-owned small business on Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis.
Owner Dr. Ali Barbarawi said the clinic suffered $1 million in damage during the riots following George Floyd's death.
"It was very tough. You spend years trying to build it and then all of a sudden, it's destroyed. It's gone," Barbarawi said.
He said rioters smashed windows, set fires and stole dental equipment from the office.
"The very next day, our patients started contacting us. First, they told us how sad they felt for the office. And second, which I think is important, told us, 'We want you to stay. Our families, our dental health, depend on you,'" Barbarawi said. "That carried a crucial message to us. That's why we decided to stay here, for the families."
Barbarawi said Chicago Lake Family Dental serves many low-income families with children in south Minneapolis.
"In south Minneapolis, there are very few offices that accept Medicaid, so our office is very crucial to them," Barbarawi said.
He said they started the long process of rebuilding just one week after the unrest.
He learned insurance would only cover about half of the cost, so he decided to use his personal savings and take out loans to cover the rest.
The community also stepped up to help, donating nearly $100,000 through a GoFundMe page.
"We had to start over with everything," Dr. Barbarawi said. "But we had a lot of support, a lot of motivation. We were one of the very few self-owned small businesses in the area that decided to rebuild quickly, despite limited financial resources."
"I think without this office, there would have definitely been a gap in health care in this area," added dental hygienist Paige Podoll. "That's what I'm most excited for, is the patients getting to come back."
The clinic is reopening in the midst of the Derek Chauvin trial, but Barbarawi said he is choosing not to worry about the potential for more unrest.
"We just hope that whatever happens last year doesn't happen again," Barbarawi said. "What happened hurt all of us and we just want to rebuild the community."
Chicago Lake Family Dental will reopen Tuesday, April 13. Barbarawi said they are accepting new patients.
You can visit their website or call 612-823-2080 for more information.
Copyright 2021 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company