Businesses In Berkeley Hold Their Breath, Hopeful Neighborhood Will Stay Peaceful | St. Louis Public Radio

Businesses In Berkeley Hold Their Breath, Hopeful Neighborhood Will Stay Peaceful

Dec 24, 2014

Dennis Yi-Adams is a tattoo artist at Urban Expressions, located near the shooting site. He said business has dropped off considerably in recent months.
Credit Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

In the parking lot of a small strip mall across the street from the Mobil station in Berkeley where the police shooting of 18-year-old Antonio Martin took place this morning, television crews from national networks were setting up and a few protesters milled around this morning.

“It’s Christmas, we’ll pray for peace,” said Tom Kiely, who owns the strip mall.   

For now, Kiely said he doesn’t plan on boarding up storefronts -- like many of the businesses in nearby Ferguson have done. But that could change.

“We’ll see what happens tonight, but that might be too late,” Kiely said.

At Nephew's Grill, a handful of customers was getting breakfast.  Marcus Nevils is a cook at the small restaurant located near the shooting site. While he doesn’t expect any property damage, Nevils said a stepped up police presence would be welcome just in case.

“So they can save buildings, they can save companies,” Nevils said.  “So you won’t have people tearing down stuff.”

For Dennis Yi-Adams, unrest in north St. Louis County has already taken a financial toll.      

“It’s a cold Christmas in the Adams family, that’s for sure,” he said.

Yi-Adams is a tattoo artist at Urban Expressions, located in the strip mall across the street from the Mobil station.

“That’s the one thing everyone has in common, they all get tattoos,” Yi-Adams said.  

He said customers from across the St. Louis area used to come to the shop, but that doesn’t happen as much anymore.     

“It’s a very eclectic blend of people who come in here,” Yi-Adams said.  “From the people in the neighborhood, police officers, white people, black people, we tried to bring it all together, and you know, form a community.  But it gets tougher and tougher with all of this.  All the racial groups are having solidarity with each other, and it’s kind of scary.”