A Bronzeville small business owner whose shop was looted and vandalized following protests and unrest in late May says he was scammed by a contractor who promised to repair his store.
JeaWoo Kim, the owner of Wig Town, Inc., immigrated to the United States 15 years ago and fulfilled his dream of becoming a small business owner.
But Kim's dream was shattered - both by the coronavirus pandemic and looters who damaged his store on the weekend of May 30 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Kim, who watched remotely as his store on 47th Street was destroyed, said his losses were in the thousands. Kim is in talks with his insurance company, and they should cover most of the costs associated with the damage.
In all, city officials estimate more than 100 businesses were damaged during days of civil unrest in late May.
"I'm disappointed - not mad," the South Side business owner said. "...We got to move forward."
Determined to rebuild, Kim hired a local contractor to make repairs and paid him $3,500. But once the contractor cashed the check, the business owner says, he stopped answering his phone.
NBC 5 also reached out to the contractor, but didn't have any luck. Kim said he's reached out to both the Chicago Police Department and city officials.
Now, he wants to help other business owners by sharing his story.
"He know[s] he should not have done that," Kim said, referring to the contractor. "I will pursue whatever I have to do."
Kim has since hired another contractor and is focused on reopening his wig store in July.
"We'll be back," he stated. "Better, stronger."