MIAMI – Some South Florida businesses are picking up the pieces after protests over the weekend turned chaotic.
Some of the stores were looted at Bayside Marketplace in Miami.
“Times like this -- first the pandemic, now the protests and vandalism, it’s very stressful because our bills don’t stop,” Michelle Ortiz said.
Ortiz is the co-owner of downtown Miami’s Soul Fresh Juice and Fruit Bar.
She said she’s shocked to see the extent of the vandalism of the stores in her neighborhood from weekend protests.
One of her juice spots was hit as well, but she said it was not looted and can thankfully remain open.
Worse off was a designer sunglasses shop just a block away from Soul Fresh on Southeast Third Avenue.
Looters broke through the store front and forced their way inside, ransacking the business and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of designer shades.
Over the weekend, the business owner told Local 10 News his nearly three-decades-old business was just trying to recover from COVID-19 closures and now this happens.
He said he’s not sure whether he’ll be able to recover.
Ortiz said her shop only has some shattered windows and glass, and that should soon be fixed.
“Fortunately, nothing was robbed (and) no one got in,” she said.
Ortiz said she’s glad they can remain open, but it’s still frustrating.
“I’m all about the protests if they want to protest, but I just don’t condone them going for small businesses and just robbing the place,” Ortiz said. “We could make a bigger difference doing something else.”