A Dellwood auto parts store is back in business after it was damaged two years ago during violence that broke out during protests in neighboring Ferguson, marking another sign of progress for the city.
O’Reilly Auto Parts on West Florissant Avenue was one of three auto retail stores that closed following the 2014 unrest, in which 13 stores were burned and five looted.
But Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones said the store's reopening this past weekend is "a signal that our community is coming back."
"I'm glad that O'Reilly has really realized that the community is worth reinvesting in and realized this is the community that’s been supporting the businesses for a while, and they recommitted to our neighborhood," he said.
Jones said O’Reilly also has brought back some of the same employees who previously worked at the Dellwood store; he said he believes those employees had been transferred to other stores during the closure.
He said he knows of a few residents who have already returned to the store.
"It's just a positive sight to be on West Florissant and seeing those guys really coming back and reinvesting in the city," he said.
Other businesses are also rebuilding. Jones said a hair supply store in a strip mall should be open by the end of the year.
“There are several projects going on in city of Dellwood where businesses have decided to reinvest," he said. "Those businesses understand that their community has people in it that will support them and had already supported them over the years.”
Jones acknowledges that rebuilding has taken some time, due in part to financing. But he said it's also because businesses were wary to begin rebuilding too soon.
"Some businesses wanted to make sure that the situation was over," he said. "Some people were really scared when the one year anniversary came up that there were going to be more problems. Once that passed, I think people really started to put their ideas and plans into action."