'It's a nightmare': State St. minority businesses plan to recover

Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 3:46 PM CDT
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The Madison Central Business Improvement District recently conducted a survey for the 152 businesses on State Street.

100 business owners responded saying they were vandalized in some ways in the last few days from the unrest, ranging from graffiti to major damage to building structure.

Tiffany Kenney, the Executive Director for Madison Central BID, said the coronavirus pandemic and slow winter months are also part of these potential closures.

“That’s not just because of what’s happened recently,” said Kenney. “Although maybe that was a double whammy to them when their businesses got either looted or vandalized.”

42 businesses responded by saying they don’t think they will be reopening at all.

“I’m hopeful in the heat of the moment some of them are feeling a bit more passionate and desperate,” said Kenney. “But we are surveying the business owners to understand the impact and like I said it’s different for each one.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County started a

and raised over $200,000 for small businesses. Starting next week, a committee made up of diverse community representatives will review the applications and determine how to divvy up the funds.

Ashim Malla and Suzy Karki started their own

after their store Triangle Market was looted.

Karki said it’s been a rough start to the year with slower winter business and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All of the sudden boom, this hits,” said Karki. This is a prime time for us to do our business and this is when we’re hurting and we have to be closed.”

The couple said they came from Nepal over 10 years ago to attend school.

“We started from pretty bottom up and our plans are to go up,” said Karki. “

As minorities, the couple says they understand the anger and frustration.

“I’ve been through same situation that they have, it’s not like I haven’t,” said Malla. “We support everything that they are doing right now, but it’s not in this climate.”

Mair Maktabi, who owns Dubai Madison, says his American dream of moving to the United States from Syria now feels more like a nightmare.

“This is the reality,” said Maktabi. “This is what we're facing right now.”

He went so far as to defend his

by using a family heirloom sword

“Before you rule out my dream, you have to face me first,” said Maktabi. “Take my life before you take my dream away.”

Maktabi said he is open now with limited hours trying to make ends meet.

The Triangle Market owners are temporarily closed and plan to take some time to reinstate stolen merchandise and make repairs before opening back up.

Today was my first time downtown since last weekend’s unrest. I spent my morning talking with business owners, both on...

Posted by Gabriella Rusk NBC15 on Friday, June 5, 2020