St. Louis Business Owners Sign in Support of Protesters, Criticize Police Response

Rise Coffee House, located in the city's Grove neighborhood, has signed a letter in support of those protesting the Stockley verdict. - PHOTO BY MABEL SUEN
Rise Coffee House, located in the city's Grove neighborhood, has signed a letter in support of those protesting the Stockley verdict.
A group of St. Louis business owners has a few words for those involved in protesting the acquittal of former city police officer Jason Stockley: We're with you.

In a letter co-signed by 46 business owners and a host of other individuals, the group makes it clear exactly whose side they are on in the protests that have gripped the city, saying they stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and and the protesters as a whole. They write, "The damage that we have or potentially could sustain during these demonstrations is a small price to pay in the fight for justice."

The letter also takes aim at the police response to the protests.

"We see police escalating tensions on the streets and then denying responsibility for the results," they write. "We see our innocent patrons caught up, brutalized and arrested in the Central West End, Loop and downtown. When media is arrested for doing their jobs, how do we tell our staff they are safe doing theirs?

"It is not at all clear that police have our best interests at heart when they are preoccupied with macho attempts to 'own' the streets. Frankly, we have reason to wonder if we have more to fear from the police officers than from a small handful of vandals."

Those co-signing include owners of Left Bank Books, Handlebar, Rise Coffee House, Flowers & Weeds, MoKaBe's, STL-Style and Seed Sprout Spoon. Golden Grocer, which had a window broken during the protests in the Central West End on September 15, signed. So did Chris Sommers of Pi Pizzeria, who earlier issued a manifesto of his own after being targeted by the St. Louis County police union.

The letter is the work of Eliza Coriell, who owns the Crow's Nest in Maplewood. Coriell says she saw people commenting about the damage done to small businesses by the protests and others asking about how the small business community felt about the ongoing disruption. She decided to write about her perspective — and then, using social media, began to circulate the result on Friday.

She had to start again Saturday — the original website she was using to gather co-signers had some server issues, she says. But she started again, and rapidly found people willing to sign on. "I just put it on social media, and it took off from there," Coriell says.

Some were willing to use their own names, some the names of their businesses and some were willing to use both. All 46, Coriell says, are business owners. Then they're also joined by a list of 56 individuals who co-signed on the statement but do not personally own business.

We've listed the business owner co-signing the letter below. To read the letter in its entirety, or to sign on as an individual or a business owner, go to its website.

Aaron Johnson - RISE Coffee House
Alicia Hamm
Amy Miller
Angie Campbell - Yoga Source of St. Louis
Annie Killeen
Bobby Duebelbeis -
Brad Jackson - Roughneck Beard Company
chris herman - Abundant Vintage Jewelry (online & home based)
Chris Renteria - Mooshido Productions
Chris Sommers - Pi Pizzeria
Cindy Betz - LGBT Counseling St. Louis, LLC
Connie - Every Body Massage
Cyndi Demick
Eliza Coriell - the Crow's Nest
Erin Wiles - Seed Sprout Spoon
Essential Oil STL
Felicia Pulliam - St. Louis Renewed LLC
George Paul Kafalenos - Silver Wing Studio
Heather Hirning - Lemon
Helen Petty - Chop Shop
J P World Market
Jarek Steele - Left Bank Books
Jennifer Spencer - Topical Solutions
Jesse Sieger-Walls - Urban Roost, LLC
Jessica Bell - Bell Brown Medical institute
John LaRico - Golden Grocer
Julie Sommer - Sommer Property Investments
Kenny Snarzyk - the Crow's Nest
Kimberly Patterson - Smokin' Monkey
Lawrence White - Southside Barber Shop
Lesley Sieger-Walls - Urban Roost, LLC
Linda Brauer - nomades
Lindsay Pattan - Pattan & Co., LLC
Margaret Howard - Margaret Howard, LCSW
Mason Bell - Bellinkoff Properties
Matthew Dunn - dunn effects
Meghan Pinson - My Two Cents Editing
Michelle Barron
Mo Costello - MoKaBe's Coffeehouse
Nancy Nix-Rice
Roxanne Krummenacher - Practicing Yoga Studio
Sarah Trone - Flowers and Weeds (co-owner)
Shane Madden
Tatyana Telnikova - HandleBar & Propaganda
Todd Davis Photography
Whitney Boe - Imaginal Cells, Inc.
Will Delano - Engelbreit Art & Design

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected]

About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
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