A Thanksgiving miracle for one Ferguson business

by 1389 on November 27, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), mob violence, PSA, the human condition

For a clearer view of the photo, please click here.

GOP USA has the story:

Natalie DuBose certainly had every reason to be bitter.

DuBose, a single mother of two, poured her life savings into opening a small bakery on South Florissant Road in Ferguson.

Sales immediately tanked three months later when crowds rioted in Ferguson over the killing of Michael Brown.

So she raised her voice as a small business owner. Feeding her children, she told any reporter who would listen, depended on selling her baked goods — one cupcake at a time.

Her story, she thought, might spare her shop from the kind of looting that destroyed businesses on West Florissant Avenue in August.

But on Monday night, in the dark, violent hours after the grand jury decision on Darren Wilson was announced, a witness saw three teens attempt three times to break the front window of her store, Natalie’s Cakes and More.

At first they failed. The glass held. But then the teens shattered the window of the traffic lawyer next door and hoisted out a metal chair. They threw it through her display window, sending shards of glass into the cake boxes, behind the counter and into bowls and utensils drying on a rack.

The violent act jeopardized all her Thanksgiving sales — with more than 40 orders waiting to be filled.

Natalie DuBoseThat night, a photograph of her in tears in front of her store was broadcast worldwide.

It cast life in the worst possible light.

“I was so hurt,” she said. “I thought, wow, these people really don’t care.”

But DuBose deals in sweetness and the transformative power of rising eggs and flour.

The next day she cried out her tears, called her customers and devised a plan with volunteers to hand-deliver all her cakes and pies on Thanksgiving morning.

And by 4 a.m. Wednesday — at the very same time she began mixing her batter for her most-popular caramel cakes — the milk of human kindness began pouring into her store.

First, two fundraising sites began raising money by the minute on the Internet. Her plight was being shared by people around the world, especially on Facebook. And by afternoon, those sites had raised more than $150,000 for her business.

DuBose said Wedneday that she had yet to process such profound kindness. That’s because something just as profound began unfolding in the hour or so before her shop opened for business.

That’s when strangers, one by one, began tapping quietly on her still-boarded-up shop’s front door. Amid the aroma of baking batter, cinnamon and sugar, they hand-delivered love and kindness.

First came Venolia Weaver and Brenda Echols, owners of two Olivette home health businesses, clutching $25 for DuBose. They told DuBose’s employee Mildred Davis that they were African-American business owners and they wanted to help other small African-American-owned businesses that had been harmed.

DuBose stepped out from behind a curtain leading to the kitchen to say hello.

“You are a blessing,” Weaver said, hugging DuBose. “It’s OK. We are going to back you up because you are an inspiration to our people.”

They were followed minutes later by Trish and Dave Seabaugh, two former owners of several Edible Arrangement stores.

“Do you need any help?” asked Trish Seabaugh. “Do you want us to wash dishes, take the trash out? Anything. ”

The Seabaughs told DuBose they understood what it was like to sink your last penny into a business and not be able to pay for the unexpected things that go wrong. So they left with the agreement they would be on backup to help with deliveries on Thanksgiving day.

Then came the two athletic guys who’d come all the way from Poplar Bluff, Mo., to help in Ferguson. They said they were not interested in buying any cakes. Instead, David Little and Ben Starnes said they just wanted to say hello and give her their support.

Then Little hugged her. And hugged her. And hugged her. It lasted a minute.

“Thank you,” he whispered. “I love you. The great state of Missouri and you might have had it rough, but we’re all stuck here together, right?”

Finally, it was Starnes’ turn to hug: “God bless you for staying open,” he told DuBose.

As they left, another man tapped on the door and walked in. His name was Mark Kuhlenberg, and he was a member of a local Glaziers, Paint and Drywall union. He came with a measuring tape and told DuBose that they planned to replace her broken store window for free. First they would use Plexiglass. Then when things calmed down, she’d get new glass.

“One of the members of our construction union knows the challenges of owning a new business,” he said.

DuBose hugged him too. Between the visits, she baked and continued to field phone call after phone call wishing her well. Customers came in wanting to buy anything she had. Then they patiently waited for cupcakes to come out of the oven.

“This is just a do-or-die situation,” she said during a small break. “You have to succeed because you have no other option.”

Much more here…

PSA for urban residents and business owners:

Be advised that that property and casualty insurance policies for homes and businesses often exclude losses due to riots or civil unrest. Extended coverage may be available at additional cost.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: