Ferguson Effect on Family Business

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Ferguson-buissnessA family manages owning a new business during Ferguson unrest

By Hannah Goodman/Photo Editor

Charles and Kizzie Davis took a leap of faith by taking over a struggling business located on West Florissant Avenue and opened Ferguson Burger Bar and More on Aug. 8.  A day later, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer.
The couple had written a check for nearly $35,000, half their savings, for the business Friday morning, ready to prepare for their new business the next day.  When they arrived to their new restaurant to begin setting up for business, they received a call around noon telling them of the devastating news of Brown’s death.  Kizzie knew Brown and his parents well.
“My wife, her and [Brown’s] mother were close friends,” Charles Davis said.
The days following the death of Brown brought much destruction and looting, leaving many businesses severely damaged, forcing them to close temporarily.  Fortunately, the newly opened burger joint was untouched.
However, the Ferguson Burger Bar closed Sunday.  It stayed closed until the next day after the shooting, when it was reopened, despite the chaos.
“Initially, it affected business for about a week, but after a week it was all good,” Davis said.
The business quickly became a meeting ground for journalists and protesters alike and was one of the few businesses that stayed open during the rioting.
While the destruction of Ferguson only impacted the Davis’s business in a minor way, the rioting did take a toll on the family and how they felt at home.
“My daughter actually was in the apartment complex when Mike was shot.  She saw him lying in the street,” Charles said.
They watched looters running across their yard throughout the night carrying stolen goods from their home located on West Florissant.  Kizzie Davis’s concern grew along with her daughter as they watched the destruction unfold in front of them.
By the fifth day of the rioting, the stress and fear brought Kizzie to tears.
On top of the ever-present uncertainty following the family at home and at work, Kizzie Davis had her friend, Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, on her mind.  McSpadden visited Kizzie at her restaurant the third day.  Lesley said she had not been able to eat since the death of her son.  It was difficult for Davis to see her friend in such distress and tried to empathize with the grieving mother.
Weeks after the incident, Charles says most things are back to normal.
“I’m just praying for some kind of justice for the family,” Charles said.
His wife, Kizzie, is still adjusting and grieving along with Brown’s family, but has stayed determined to work everyday to the best of her ability.
“My wife is fine, she still gets really emotional when she talks about it or is asked questions, but she’s fine,” Charles said.
In a situation where the worst of the worst could happen, the family is “grateful to God” for the outcome they received and the support they received through it all.