How One St. Louis Business Owner Stays Open After the Ferguson Riots

How One St. Louis Business Owner Stays Open After the Ferguson Riots

Local artists volunteering their time to paint boarded up Rooster restaurant.

The day after rioters broke seven large windows in his St. Louis restaurant, David Bailey said he is trying to make the best of a bad situation.

He has already boarded up the windows at Rooster, which serves crepes and sandwiches in the South Grand area of the city, and opened the restaurant for business. All told, he estimates repairs will cost more than $25,000, not counting lost revenue, but he's working to keep the business going.

"We want this city to be peaceful—we provide a service and we love our community, so it doesn't make sense to shutdown," he said.

Bailey, whose Baileys' Restaurants group owns several area establishments, said he is hiring local artists to paint on the boarded up restaurant.

Yet despite the cost to his business—Bailey said he has insurance, although he will have to pay a deductible—the restaurant owner said he has not soured on the community.

"The people that threw the rocks through my windows were kids basically. They're out causing havoc, they're causing trouble—there's definitely a bad element out there but that doesn't speak for this city," he said. "It's sad to see this bad element communicate this message with our name on it."

Still, that elements' actions were largely telegraphed before the Monday night protests, and Bailey said he had sent his employees (many of whom live in Ferguson) home an hour early.

Rooster will stay open for its normal hours Tuesday evening, Bailey said, unless "things look like they're turning."

For their part, local politicians are imploring the community to cease with the violence.

"What happened in Ferguson last night was not a 'peaceful protest.' It was criminal, and was nothing that our community can—or will—tolerate. I strongly condemn the violence, Most people living in the region, including protesters, condemn the violence," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wrote in a Tuesday Facebook post. "It will not change minds and real change will not happen unless everyone wants it and works together. Violence is as antithetical to change as racism."

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Twenty-one windows were broken at local businesses, Slay wrote, and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department made 21 arrests.

In Ferguson, which is part of St. Louis County, authorities said at least 12 buildings were "total losses" following fires on the premises.

The riots began after the official announcement that a grand jury had declined to indict a white Ferguson police officer for shooting an unarmed black teenager. Read more on that case here.

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