Baltimore CDFI Roundtable member Latino Economic Development Center was featured in a NPR segment for its small business recovery efforts in Baltimore.
It took only minutes for stores in Baltimore to be destroyed on the night of April 27. But six weeks later, the repair process is still limping along. And stores not directly affected by the violence say they’ve also seen a sharp decline in business.
“Look outside, there’s nobody,” says Pedro Silva, owner of Carolina’s Tex-Mex Restaurant in Fells Point, a usually busy tourist spot. “Before, we used to be no parking space. Now it’s empty. It’s empty — day, night.”
Silva says that since the riots, business at the restaurant has been cut in half. At lunchtime last week, the place was almost empty, as Silva sat with a lending officer from the nonprofit Latino Economic Development Center, to get a $5,000 loan to cover some bills.
Nearly 400 businesses throughout Baltimore were damaged during riots after the death of Freddie Gray. The city, state and federal governments have offered millions of dollars in aid. But very little has gone out so far, despite broad agreement that getting these businesses back on their feet is crucial for the city’s recovery.
Listen to the radio segment here: For Baltimore Businesses, Aid For Riot Repair Is Not Coming Fast Enough.