CHAMPAIGN — How soon some businesses that were heavily damaged and looted this past Sunday can reopen may depend, in part, on how soon they can get their shattered glass windows and doors replaced.
The calls from looted stores started coming in at Champaign’s Bacon & Van Buskirk Glass Co. on Sunday, and those calls were still coming in Tuesday, said owner Rod Van Buskirk.
“We have two locations, in Champaign and Springfield, and both are busy,” he said. “We’ve also been getting calls from Decatur and Danville.”
That company has been both boarding up entrances and replacing glass, and as of Tuesday, was still getting requests for boarding up businesses.
That included some stores that weren’t looted Sunday, but anticipating they still could be, according to Bacon & Van Buskirk Commercial Service Manager Shawn Slade.
“I think people are a little nervous right now,” he said.
Among the glass service orders in progress in Champaign were for Premier Sound & Design, Flora Gems, Mosser’s Shoes and Gordmans, Slade said.
Andy Kurtz, owner of Premier Sound, said he plans to keep his store boarded through this weekend, but he has reopened for business.
Looters carried out 16 to 18 TVs, 150 to 170 cell phones, and “they took our safe that was bolted to the ground,” he said. “They took anything that they could carry, they took out.”
Kurtz said he’s lived in Champaign for decades, and has never seen anything like this.
“The store was a wreck,” he said.
Kurtz said the incidents of Sunday left him shaken and confused about the response to the looting as it unfolded.
“I don’t want to blame anybody, but the leadership in this town is pretty weak,” he said.
He did have insurance coverage, Kurtz said, but Van Buskirk said some small businesses don’t have coverage for the damage that was done.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the smaller businesses, the building owners and proprietors of those businesses, simply have to take a loss and pay the cost of the board-up and the glass replacement,” he said.
Bacon & Van Buskirk had already replaced the door glass at Macy’s at Market Place Mall, and that store, along with the mall itself, reopened Tuesday. But Macy’s glass display cases damaged by looters were still in the fabrication process, Slade said.
Gordmans Manager Derek Evans said much of the broken glass at that store has been cleaned up and plans are to reopen at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Monday was his first day back from furlough, Evans said.
“It was kind of a shock walking in there,” he said.
Looters grabbed a lot of the store’s active wear that was on racks Sunday, but the store had recently received items that weren’t on the sales floor yet, so that merchandise will be available for Gordmans’ reopening day, Evans said.
Van Buskirk was a kid the last time there was this much civil unrest in the community, he said.
“This compares with the civil unrest of 1968 or ’69 or so, which was more centered on campus,” he said.
In many cases, his business has been able to get glass replaced quickly in the aftermath of the looting spree, when the glass needed is in stock. But some customers are waiting on glass that must be special-ordered, Van Buskirk said.
“In some cases, people have double-pane insulated glass and that has to be made by a fabricator we use out of the area,” he said.
Champaign’s Binny’s Beverage Depot remained boarded up and closed Tuesday, but an employee there said broken glass was being cleaned up and the plan was to reopen the store today.
The Champaign Kohl’s also remained closed Tuesday, but a recorded message at the business said the store would reopen Thursday.
Target of Champaign reopened Tuesday, but the front of the store remained boarded up, with just a doorway opened.