Ferguson Business Owner: 'I Pray I Stay Open'

Posted: Dec 12, 2014 6:30 PM

Idowu Ajibola is a Nigerian immigrant who owns the Rehoboth Pharmacy in Ferguson, Missouri. It’s been described as a stable small business; one of many that dotted the city, which was virtually destroyed in the riot that erupted after it was announced that the grand jury was not going to charge then-Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

He gave his account of what happened to his store to CNSNews.com’s Brittany Hughes. Ajibola said that the looters broke four windows and doors and ransacked his shop. Police secured the area around two in the morning on November 24-25, but he had to explain he was the business owner since they closed the road; they eventually let him through.

Horrified at the damage, Ajibola stayed and slept in his car to ward off any future attempts by looters to rob his store (via CNSNews):

“I feel that I was a victim twice,” Ajibola told CNSNews.com at his store, which was severely damaged by rioters in the second wave of Ferguson riots on Nov. 24-25. “It’s very devastating.”

It’s been a little more than two weeks since Ferguson was rocked by the second set of violent riots and looting that broke out when a grand jury decided not to bring charges against white police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. Rioters ransacked dozens of stores, burned several others, torched police cars and ultimately left the small city and its citizens to bear the scars of the violence.

With the rioters and most of the media gone, the process of trying to assess, recover, and rebuild is only just beginning for many small business owners like Ajibola.

“I pray I stay open,” Ajibola told CNSNews.com, trying to smile as he looked about his small, ransacked store. Meager offerings of pain medicine and paper towels sat on the nearly empty shelves, as tiny rays of natural light peeked through the plywood that covered the holes where windows and doors used to be.

I certainly hope Ajibola's business survives. While it may be tough some days, this is America; where there's always tomorrow to rebuild if tragedy strikes, or room to do better when you fall short the first time.