Philadelphia Inquirer interviews Sheldon Yellen of Belfor Property Restoration on Businesses, Post-Riots.

The fires are out, but stores are still counting their losses from looting

Store owners that bet big on the resurgence of retail in U.S. cities were prime victims of the burst of looting and vandalism that accompanied the initial protests over police violence against black people.

Will they rebuild? Many chains have already reopened most of their damaged outlets, where sales had been poor to nonexistent all spring due to coronavirus closures. Long-term prospects, and the future of local and independent stores, are less assured, as owners and insurers count claims and weigh the challenges facing retail trade.

One observer with a wide-lens perspective is Sheldon Yellen, whose Michigan-based business, BELFOR Property Restoration, employs 9,200 people cleaning up storm, accident, and other disaster scenes in North America, Europe, and Asia.

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