Kilwins in South Loop gives back to grads to show appreciation for community support after looting

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Black-owned business in the South Loop is showing appreciation for the community's support recovering from looting in May.

Michigan Avenue's Kilwins is giving away up to 2,020 ice cream cones to this year's graduates on Sunday.

"I said, what a great way to reopen Michigan Avenue and let's just acknowledge the graduates because that's just devastating too. They couldn't have that ceremony," said Jackie Jackson, co-owner of Kilwins.

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While the shop was filled with smiles on Sunday, it's been a difficult seven weeks for this Black-owned business. Kilwins was one of dozens vandalized during the unrest that enveloped the city on Memorial Day weekend following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

"Looters were coming from CVS. They saw the glass window open and then they wanted to come in and we pretty much had to plead with them not to take our cellphones. We gave them chocolates, we did everything we could so there would be no further damage," Jackson said.

Jackson said she spent that entire night at Kilwins pleading with looters to spare her shop, one of the few Black-owned businesses in the area. A fundraiser launched in the aftermath of that night raised enough money to open Kilwins back up earlier this month.

Sunday's ice cream giveaway is their way of paying it forward.

"I want to thank everyone who was pouring love to us when everything happened, because it was a very hard time," said Jackson's daughter Janel. "And I promise you, the only thing that got us through it was the support from the community. It was a lot of support."

Jackson and her daughter are just weeks away from opening their third Kilwins shop.

The new store will be located at Navy Pier.
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