KENOSHA — In recent months, tragedy struck Kenosha’s ‘uptown’ neighborhood more than once. Now businesses, like Bellissima’s Boutique, are starting to get back on their feet with the help of the community.
Krista Maurer is grateful to be where she is today, preparing to reopen her Kenosha stop, Bellissima’s Boutique.
“I never thought that it would come together like this, but it’s very humbling,” Maurer said.
It wasn’t long ago on Aug. 12, when a fire seriously damaged her store in the ‘uptown’ neighborhood.
“To see everything that we’ve worked so hard for in the last three years just perish, it was devastating,” Maurer said.
Then nearly two weeks later, riots broke out over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Some businesses were looted and others were set on fire.
Immediately, Maurer and other business owners impacted by the first fire, stepped in to support their neighbors.
“‘Uptown’ is definitely a family-like feeling and we wanted to make sure that our family members were taken care of,” Maurer said.
At the same time, Maurer was also trying to move forward after her own loss.
“Right away we were like this is retail season, we have to recover from this,” Maurer said.
Folks like Kelli Griffin lended a hand, and put time, energy and money into rebuilding the boutique at a new location downtown.
“As long as we have a community that’s supporting one another, we’ll all rise up,” Griffin said.
On Sunday, Maurer finally moved in, and began the process of getting the space all set up.
It marks the start of a new beginning for a city that’s slowly recovering.
“It was so painful to see it burn down, but we knew that we still have a purpose, and we still have to walk through that every day,” Maurer said.
Maurer is looking to open the store the week of Oct. 15. It’s now located at 5821 6th Ave.
One day Maurer hopes to move her shop back to ‘uptown,’ where it all started.