Black-owned Kilwins in South Loop vandalized; owner calls for peace

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A black-owned business in the South Loop has had to shut its doors after falling victim to vandals.

Big box retailers aren't the only stores that were forced to close as a result of the protests over the weekend. A black-owned business had to shut its doors after falling victim to vandals.

The chocolate shop Kilwins is one of the few black owned businesses in the city's South Loop. Jackie Jackson, the owner, said she was watching her security cameras from home late Saturday night.

When she saw vandals break into her store, she said she dropped everything and rushed over to her South Loop location and was in disbelief.

"At least 30 different cars pulled up on the curb. We had to plead with them, please, spare us," Jackson said. "We have been closed since the pandemic of March 15. The rent downtown is very expensive. We had challenging times getting the PPE. We had to fight to get that and it's just really, really hard and we just didn't want them to just come in."

Jackson said fortunately, she was able to reason with the vandals, they took very little from her store and left not long after. She slept at the store overnight to protect it.

As a black female business owner, she said she's absolutely devastated. .

"That is not protesting," said Janel Jackson, Jackie's daughter and a co-owner of the store. "That is complete chaos for no reason or, I don't know, boredom, because we've been in quarantine for three months."

Jackson said a watermelon was used to break the window. She said she wants to make it clear that she isn't sure of the gender or the ethnicity of the vandals.

But her message is clear: do not use this painful time in our country to destroy business, especially small businesses that may not be able to bounce back. She said the incident has set her business back. She won't be reopening this week.
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