Destroyed Kenosha business vows to reopen; defy looters after overwhelming support from community

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KENOSHA, WI – A small business in Kenosha was completely destroyed and looted of everything inside following Jacob Blake riots on Sunday night.  They announced on social media early Monday morning that they would be forced to close permanently.

Damage done to Gravity Gaming Lounge in Kenosha.
Damage done to Gravity Gaming Lounge in Kenosha.

Indicating that they were already struggling to get back to normal in the wake of the year’s events so far, the losses suffered during recent rioting had broken their business and resolve to continue.

The business, Gravity Gaming Lounge, in Uptown Kenosha suffered approximately $50,000 in exterior and interior damage due to the rioting.  In addition to the damage, looters also stole everything inside of the gaming store/ arcade/ internet café specializing in game/console rentals and VR experiences.

Even in the early hours of the morning following the closure announcement, support poured in immediately from around the city.  Offers to help and donate to the daunting rebuild project also flooded in. 

Though very appreciative of the outpouring, owner Victor Estill tried to discourage donations, revealing that he was not comfortable with accepting donations from others who are struggling as he is.

As they learned of a particular donation drive that continued on in spite of their wishes, however, they became greatly moved and encouraged to defy rioters’ goal of shutting down business.  Donations received in this campaign, have raised $70,000 so far.  This will completely cover the cost of rebuilding and reopening in only three days.

Needless to say, the owners were moved to tears to witness this amazing show of community support, in the face of violence and evil in their city.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that it was a local Youtuber with a very large following, who set up what turned out to be an extremely successful GoFundMe drive. 

Jeremy Hambly, founder of TheQuartering youtube channel, has 855,000 subscribers.  Mainly discussing gaming topics, Hambly also provides occasional social commentary.   He can sometimes be heard railing against the social justice war machine that has spawned many of the riots we are seeing today.

Hambly managed to assemble over 2,000 donors, producing the $70,000 total to date.  The monetary goal set for the campaign was $80,000, which it is well on pace to break by the end of the week.

“You did it!  I am so proud of you!”

Hambly exclaimed in an update yesterday, on TheQuartering.

A local twitter user, going by the handle of @gguntaku posted a couple pictures of the initial damage to the store:

Gravity Gaming Lounge Riot Damage
Gravity Gaming Lounge Riot Damage submitted by twitter user gguntaku

Many other businesses have been damaged in the city, to varying degrees.  Many also, were not as fortunate as Gravity to have the help of influential supporters as they recover.  The city of Kenosha, particularly the downtown area, has a long road of recovery ahead of it.  The journey along this road is unable to be started, until the rioting ends.

Kenosha Black Lives Matter organizer, Whitney Cabal (aka Billy Violet), stated when reached for comments during a national protest in Washington, D.C. this week:

“People are mad.  Until this city hears that the officer has been fired or what the update is, the city is going to keep burning.”

This was also the message that she delivered via phone call to Kenosha District Attorney, Mike Graveley.  She told him that the criminal investigators from the Wisconsin Department of Justice need to be transparent with the public about the progress of the Jacob Blake case. 

She indicated that the consequences of not doing so would be a continuation of the destruction.  Cabal also mentioned to Insider that BLM protestors from out of state arrived in the city to bolster the demonstrations on Monday. 

Estill expects to reopen Gravity by Spring 2021.  He is already hard at work clearing debris, and cleaning up as much as he can, by hand.  He may choose to save the official rebuild until the official end of riots, which do not appear to have an endpoint at this time.  In spite of this uncertainty, Gravity appears to be on the road to an encouraging recovery. 

Estill and other Uptown business owners will also need a mayor and governor willing to take a harder line against lawlessness, however. 

As we see this scenario being played out in urban centers across the country, we understand that rebuilding alone does not bring about recovery.  The security to do so is equally as important.

Elderly Kenosha man attacked while trying to fend off rioters at mattress store.

1.5 miles to the west of Gravity on 56th St., down Roosevelt Rd to 63rd St., Kenosha News reported that a 71 year old man attempted to singlehandedly fend off rioters. 

Wielding a fire extinguisher from his lodge , the Danish Brotherhood Lodge, Robert Cobb arrived on the scene to confront the group.  Having seen live video of rioters setting fire to buildings along the block, Cobb intended to protect the lodge, and the neighboring Mattress Shop, owned by friend Pamela “Sue” Moniz.  Finding himself in a direct confrontation with the rioters, Cobb began spraying the masked rioters in the face with the extinguisher. 

Though he was successful in forcing a few of them to remove their masks for identification, Cobb paid a brutal price.  He was stuck in the face with a plastic bottle filled with concrete, presumably used to break glass. 

The heavy blow caused him to fall to ground in a pool of blood, causing a gash in his head, splitting his nose open, and breaking a jaw.

As the rioters left the scene, Good Samaritans arrived to tend to the man, and rush him though the crowd of rioters to a nearby hospital.  

Sadly, the building containing Sue’s Mattress shop was completely destroyed by fire, and everything in the shop was consumed. 

A GoFundMe page was set up by a mutual friend to cover the expenses for Sue and her husband, Keith to relocate their business and start over.  The campaign will also cover Cobb’s medical expenses for the emergency treatment that he received. 

He will also need future surgery to wire his jaw and insert plates.  The campaign goal is $100,000.  $20,000 has been raised so far.

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