San Jose Downtown Foundation and two citizen funds combine
to help businesses with damage caused during protests
Eighteen businesses received $1,700 apiece to help defray the costs of property damage and looting sustained during George Floyd anti-racism protests, mostly during the weekend of May 29.
More than $30,000 in “Rebuilding Downtown” funds were donated to San Jose Downtown Foundation and citizen-initiated GoFundMe campaigns originated by Ashton and Farran Chevallier in partnership with Archie Garcia and Abdul Momeni.
“The vast majority of the street level businesses downtown are small and locally owned shops, many of which are owned by people of color,” Ashton Chevallier said. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that the ‘riot is the language of the unheard,’ so when our downtown was caught in the crossfire of the demonstrations, we felt it was important to support both our community and the protests as strongly as possible.”
“Small business owners should always help and support each other,” Momeni added. “We are in this together no matter where we are located in the community.” Momeni owns the Studio 34 salon near Oakridge Mall and has been closed since March 17 due to the coronavirus.
Both thought of asking the community to support a fund to remove the financial burden of the damage caused on the businesses by protestors and the pandemic.
With $16,435 donated to SJDF and $14,210 donated through GoFundMe, the funders teamed up to cover the 18 businesses that applied for assistance. Several other downtown businesses were damaged as a result of the protests, however, their home offices were taking care of the repair expenses for them.
Businesses, already suffering from the shelter-in-place and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, greatly appreciated the assistance.
“Thank you so much,” said Dan Phan, owner of Miniboss. “We’re getting the window replaced sometime this week. This is really helpful for us because insurance wasn’t an option – we have a $5,000 deductible for property damage.”
More than 200 people donated to the cause between June 1 and June 23, The Foundation’s campaign alone attracted 41 donors who gave between $25 and $5,000.
“The amount of money we were able to raise so quickly truly is a testament to the strength of our community,” Ashton said. “We’re more proud than ever to be: San Jose.”
“These are unfortunate times for everyone,” added Nathan Ulsh, SJDA director of policy and operations, who started in his position May 25. “It was great to see the response from individuals wanting to help our storefront businesses.”
Businesses receiving assistance included: Chacho’s, CubaMex Sandwich Shop, Elyse Restaurant, Flames Eatery and Bar, Forager
, Grace Deli and Café, Guggenheim Entertainment/ 3 Below Theaters, Hotworx, Local Color, Mezcal
Restaurant, Miniboss, Mumbai Local, Picasso’s Tapas, Pizza My Heart, Rec Room, The Ritz, Smoke Eaters and Temple