Vancouver riot-damaged shop reopens
The Blenz coffee shop damaged in the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot has finally reopened, two months after vandals forced the West Georgia Street business to shut down.
The mob rampaging through the city's downtown core smashed every window pane, wrecked furniture and stole merchandise while the store's owner, along with two employees and one customer, hid terrified in a small backroom.
Gina Ye was one of those employees, but on Friday she was back serving coffee and snacks. She said the traumatic experience of June 15 is hard to forget.
"It was just terrible," said Ye. "I'm so happy right now. I'm back, so I want to see my regular customers… And everything is fine, it will be fine."
Riot damage at the shop was estimated at about $100,000.
"The next day, I came down here to see a completely demolished store," said Blenz president George Moen. "We were pissed."
But the company is hoping to make rioters pay for what they did.
"It's not OK to do this," said Moen. "This is not a video game."
Blenz is suing 150 unnamed looters and vandals in a lawsuit that seeks punitive damages, as well as money for lost revenue and the value of items destroyed or stolen.
But on Friday, there was lots of free coffee and a feeling for some that citizens were reclaiming their city.
"Everyone's down here and celebrating, just the fact that we are recovering from that black eye," said one customer.
Another regular agreed.
"It's just really nice to see all the pieces put back together."
With files from the CBC's Aarti Pole