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Center City Boutique Owner Says COVID-19 Shutdown, Looting Is Chance To Reopen With 'Open Minds And Open Hearts'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Many Philadelphia businesses hoping to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic were then hit hard by looters following a weekend of unrest. But one woman tells Eyewitness News the setback has become her inspiration.

Like so many Philadelphia storefronts, windows at Kin Boutique in Center City are covered with boards, but inside it's like being in your best friend's closet.

"We really wanted to create an environment that just promoted inclusivity and just made people feel really comfortable," Kin Boutique owner Joey Clark said.

Thirty-four-year-old Joey Clark, a proud minority business owner, opened her doors almost three years ago.

"I feel really blessed that I've been accepted so warmly," Clark said.

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But the last few months have been a struggle. The pandemic forced her to close, then came rallies for change.

"This movement created a space to talk about everything," Clark said. "The protests were a beautiful thing."

But things turned ugly. Just days before reopening, Clark heard shops were being looted.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared, especially with COVID happening. We've already really been hit pretty hard. It's been such a trying time and then to have the fear that I could lose even more, was scary," Clark said.

She did. Looters broke windows, stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

kin boutique
Credit: CBS3

That's when the community came together.

"A neighbor actually found the woman that stole from us and was able to track her down," Clarke said. "She dropped the bag of stolen merchandise. I've never met this woman before but to see her come up the street with our bag of merchandise, it was just an amazing moment."

"Kin" means family. The upside to all of this is reopening with what Clark says are "open minds and open hearts" and a very bright future.

"We lost thousands of dollars, but all of that is replaceable at the end of the day," Clark said. "It never stopped us from being behind and really supporting this movement, we just had to pivot and find a new way to move forward."

Now that she has reopened, Clark is doing everything possible to keep customers safe from the coronavirus. She even has a machine to sterilize clothes after people try them on.

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