Owner of Colonial Coin and Jewelry, Cleveland’s oldest retail establishment, says looters won’t keep him down

Owner of Cleveland’s oldest retail establishment says looters won’t keep him down he will reopen

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s the oldest retail establishment still remaining in downtown Cleveland, but that didn’t stop vandals from smashing in jewelry cases and snatching and grabbing whatever they could.

19 News talked to the owner of Colonial Coin and Jewelry about how he plans to reopen despite the challenges.

The city of Cleveland and police have shut down the hotel surrounding his business, and the Fifth Street Arcades and any other activity for the next week. So owner Gary Cohen tells 19 News he doesn’t even have access to his insurance policy to know exactly what damage will be covered from Saturday night.

Cohen’s store was destroyed by looters, like so many others in Cleveland, after the protest on Saturday over George Floyd’s death.

Cohen said when the alarm company called him back to the store at about 7:30 p.m. he came back to jewelry cases that were reduced to shards of glass. He says he is the third generation of his family’s ownership, and they’ve been at that location for 99 years, and in their history there’s never been anything like this, “Our windows were smashed, doors were smashed, there were about 30 stores and they were all smashed. Insides ransacked, cases destroyed.”

The only saving grace was that the most expensive items had been locked away for safe keeping. But the thieves took any and everything in their sights, and there wasn’t just a few people looting, he says a large number took part. "I mean it was pretty shocked because when there’s a break-in there’s one or two people. Smash and grab and taking something because we have an alarm system. But since this was just a whole group of hundreds of people in the streets, ganging up, it kept getting bigger,” Cohen said.

But Cohen tells 19 News as his family celebrates nearly a century in business they will recover,

“We’re a very diversified business and we’ll put all our resources together. It might take months but we’ll rebuild, and we’ll recover.”

Cohen tells me the entire arcade has been closed for the past two months because of the coronavirus. That’s about 30 stores and they were just starting to reopen. Now with the damage done this past weekend, they’ve been set back at least another month or two.

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