A retail store in Alabama was burned down after it was hit by looters last month, overshadowing peaceful nationwide protests following the murder of George Floyd.
California Fashion Mall, a retail store in downtown Birmingham that has been in business for 30 years, took extensive damage caused by the fire on May 31, according to WBRC
David Kim, the 75-year-old owner of the store, reportedly lost $200,000 worth of items to the fire.
Although thousands of dollars worth of products were destroyed, the historic building has strong foundations, Kim told WBRC.
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Many people came to California Fashion Mall to help Kim clean up the store and board up the building the following day.
“It’s a place I grew up. Friend of mine’s family. We would come down here during the summer time and work,” Chris Shepard, a friend of the Kim family, said. “I mean it’s hard to see what happened and the contradiction the people here come to help out. Birmingham is an amazing community.”
“Today I realize again l’m lucky enough to be an American,” an emotional Kim said when the community came to help.
Family member Liah Kim also set up a GoFundMe campaign
to help their uncle recover from the incident.
“Our uncle owned the California Fashion Mall located in Birmingham, AL, since the 80s,” they wrote. “It was a business that sold everything from apparel to wigs. This was his pride and joy because the business was inside a historical building that had been part of the community long before he immigrated to the United States.”
Kim, along with his two brothers, traveled from Korea to the U.S. via ship for almost two months. He was only 22-year-old at the time. The three brothers first landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina and stayed there for a year before they made their way to the U.S.
“Unfortunately, insurance will not cover the losses he has sustained,” the post continued. “His pride wasn’t in the success of the business, but rather his ties to the community and being a true American himself.”