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"It's Very Terrifying": Ferguson Business Community Frustrated By Unrest

Working in Ferguson has never been more complicated after recent protests swept the city. Jim Dalrymple II reports from Ferguson, Missouri, for BuzzFeed News.

Posted on December 1, 2014, at 10:15 p.m. ET

Protesters approach a police line in Ferguson on Nov. 24.
Adrees Latif / Reuters

Protesters approach a police line in Ferguson on Nov. 24.

Working in Ferguson, Missouri, has never been more complicated, numerous employees and business owners explained in recent interviews with BuzzFeed News.

When protests erupted in Ferguson following the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case, people working in the city experienced an array of emotions and financial repercussions. Some feared for the safety of their businesses. Others supported the protesters' aims, but struggled with a resulting loss of revenue.

Below are excerpts from interviews with four people who work in Ferguson.

Steve Moore: "It's very terrifying to see this because it's scaring people away from our community."

Moore owns Celebrity Southern Soul Food, about half a mile from the Ferguson Police Department. He spoke with BuzzFeed News as smoke filled the street late on Nov. 24, the night Officer Darren Wilson was cleared of criminal charges. In the ensuing chaos, several businesses near Moore's restaurant were looted and set on fire, and a Little Caesars completely burned to the ground.

Moore wasn't surprised by the grand jury decision, but was frustrated and afraid of the unrest that followed.

Andre Coffer: "They've got to throw us a bone."

Coffer — a 49-year-old father of six and accountant who has an office across the street from Ferguson City Hall — spoke with BuzzFeed News as he left a protest on Nov. 24. He criticized the way police had handled Brown's shooting, saying it didn't have to be about race but ended up that way due to authorities' response.

"My other sign is 'Chief Jackson is an ass,'" he said. "They just messed up."

Jerome Jenkins: "The only place we can go is up."

Jenkins co-owns Cathy's Kitchen, which sits just a few dozen yards from the Ferguson Police Department. During the first night of protests on Nov. 24, one of the restaurant's front windows was broken. When Jenkins spoke with BuzzFeed News on Nov. 26, the window had been boarded up, and the wood painted by a local artist.

When asked if Ferguson would recover economically from the recent unrest, Jenkins said it would.

"Definitely I believe it'll recover," he said. "I mean, it's a lot of people that is focused for change."

Roderick Griffith: "I just wish that, you know, there was such a thing as police policing the community."

Griffith cuts hair at Prime Time Beauty and Barber Shop, on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson. His shop was one of the few businesses open on Black Friday (another excerpt from Griffith's interview is included in this post), but he said the economy in the area has tanked since August when the protesting began. That put Griffith in a difficult spot because he supports the protests but also has a family to support.

"I can't tell you what's going to happen," he said. "I can't tell you that people's going to want to come back here. I can't tell you that it's not going to be a continuous war zone for the umpteen months to come."

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