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'Power of Community': Highland Park businesses reopen after July 4 mass shooting, as people lend support for each other

Highland Park businesses reopen after July 4 mass shooting
Highland Park businesses reopen after July 4 mass shooting 03:12

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill (CBS) -- The road to recovery for many Highland Park businesses begins with re-opening.

After closing their doors for a full week after the July 4 mass shooting, some downtown shops are welcoming back customers. CBS 2's Tara Molina spoke with some of those owners.

They said they want to be a part of the community's healing process, as this tight knit community continues to emphasize supporting each other in every way they can.

For many, that meant shopping small at small businesses. One store had a line out front after opening on Monday.

"We had so many people, once they saw our door open, they wanted to come and be together and hug and talk," said Sherry Levin.

People lend support for one another as Highland Park businesses reopen 02:45

Levin has reopened Style Shack, 1839 2nd St., after they had to close their doors for a week due to the investigation into the parade massacre. When Style Shack reopened, there was overwhelming support.

A huge chunk of the customers, she said, were lined up outside when they opened. Many wanted "Highland Park Strong" a local artist is making and selling right now, where 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Highland Park Community Foundation.

"We sold out of them in the first 10 minutes," Levin said, adding that after 14 years in the community as a small business owner and longer as a resident, she wants this to continue to be a safe space, a comfort space, for people to come together.

"The power of community. People feeling so much stronger together. And if there is any community that can pull through this and see the light at the end of this darkness, I truly believe that it is this community," Levin said.

Also Monday, dozens and dozens of people stopped by Michael's Grill & Salad Bar, 1879 2nd St. to support them. But unfortunately, they had to turn everyone away.

Michael's has been open in Highland Park since 1977 – seven days week, even through the pandemic. The days following the deadly mass shooting has been the longest time they've been closed.

The closure forced Michael's to throw away a week's worth of food, and they had to wait for a new shipment to arrive. Staff at Michael's spent the day preparing the food so they could reopen at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

"We still have to pay our employees throughout the whole entire week, you know, they were losing hours and their paychecks," said manager Daisy Rojas. "It's just really hard to navigate all through that without getting any sales in."

Rojas said Michael's is more than work to her.

"My dad has been working here for 30 years," she said.

A proud lifelong resident of Highland Park, Rojas was off on Monday, July 4, to attend the parade with her family – just down the street from the restaurant.

"It was very horrific – the experience that we went through, and the experience that this community is still going through – it's really sad," Rojas said.

But the staff at Michael's are pushing through as they prepare to reopen. Rojas said they want Michael's to be a safe space for the community they love.

The need to support each other is what residents echoed on Monday, whether that means heading back to a favorite spot for a meal or shopping in a local store.

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