Longtime customers back looted business owner

Longtime customers back looted business owner
Longtime customers back looted business owner(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 7:32 PM EDT
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Members of the community are stepping up to help businesses that were looted this weekend.

After Coliseum Loft Deli and Market was ransacked this weekend, friends and long-time customers are helping the owner, Abbas Jahangiri, get his business back on its feet.

“You know, when I came into this store to make this a restaurant, there wasn’t any Kroger or Starbucks," Jahangiri said of when he first moved into the West Broad Street location.

It’s hard to imagine West Broad Street without those big-name businesses, but Coliseum Loft Deli and Market has been around for 17 years, perhaps making it a staple of this block.

So it’s not too hard to imagine the pain owner Abbas Jahangiri felt when Coliseum was hit by looters on Saturday.

“I was scared, I was just shaken," he said, as he came upon the shop to find firefighters tending to the damage: a window was shattered, and some food was taken from the deli.

Peyton Harris has been a customer for 4 years. He says first instinct was to check on Jahangiri:

“I saw so many broken windows," Harris said, “First thought was ‘I hope that everything was okay here.’ And as I came up, I thought ‘Wow, that window looks really clean’ and then I realized it’s gone!”.

Harris wasn’t the only person to reach out, according to Jahangiri, adding that he appreciated the calls, emails, and texts from people saying they could help in any way that they can. They all did just that, with the hole in the storefront all boarded up by Sunday afternoon.

But they weren’t done yet:

“I’m going to put the name Coliseum Kabob right up there, and just a big ‘We Are Open’. There’s going to be varied fonts and stuff,” said another longtime patron, Tessa Harnisch, who was painting the plywood on Monday morning.

She remembers peering into the now-broken window for years to see if the shop was open, and volunteered to give the plywood a makeover.

“To see something beautiful come out of a very stressful time is just kind of beneficial to everyone,” Harnisch added.

Jahangiri says that they have no intention of closing, as they had just re-opened a week earlier after closing for two months during the pandemic.

“We have to show ourselves to the people that broke the glass and looted us to say, 'Look, we’re still strong," he added.

According to the deli’s Facebook page, it is in the process of establishing a GoFundMe page to help fund repairs.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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