Lake Street businesses rebuilding thanks to thousands in grant money

More than 50 days after George Floyd’s death, some businesses along Lake Street are starting to get back to normal while others are still boarded up as business owners say they’re ready to rebuild the community.

Guillermo Quito has been rebuilding the area for weeks now, saying his restaurant had many electronics stolen from it.

Rioters broke in to his Los Andes Latin Bistro just days before they were set to open.

“You try your best to make it happen to live your dream and coming here the next day seeing what had been done to the place as devastating,” he said.

With help from the community and a $25,000 grant from the Lake Street Council, they’re back on track to open within the next few weeks.

“It was relief,” Quito said. “Definitely was a relief for us and my partners. Again, we never lost hope.”

Head east on Lake Street and you’ll find Elias Usso, the owner of Seward Pharmacy, who’s also recovering from the riots.

“Windows broken, all the drugs, every item we have. Equipment broken everything. We had basically got looted,” said Usso.

He applied for grants from the Lake Street Council too, but hasn’t received any help yet.

“A dollar would make a big difference. Literally we lost everything. Anything they can help us we’re grateful,” Usso added.

He says he is hopeful that he will eventually get some funding, but for now, the shelves are empty.

“Hopefully they’ll be able to help not only us and the rest of Lake Street to come back and become stronger, more vibrant small business as it was,” Usso said.

The Lake Street Council says the first round of funding is helping around 175 businesses, but there will be several more phases of these grant giveaways until they say they’ve helped everyone impacted.

"We want every single business in that area who had any kind of damage to get some sort of help," said Asad Aliweyd, of the Lake Street Council oversight committee.