It will be a quiet Black Friday on Ferguson's West Florissant Avenue. The modest commercial strip that runs through the heart of the embattled city has been devastated by rioting and looting. Now, a haze of doubt hangs over many workers and merchants there who wonder whether their businesses can survive the terrible toll — and the fear of possible uprisings to come.
Some retailers, like Mohamad Yaacoub, have been slammed twice by violence. His store, Sam's Meat Market, was looted in August after unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. On Monday night, arsonists nearly burned that market to the ground.
"To be honest with you, I'm lost now," Yaacoub told NBC News after touring the charred shell that once was Sam's. The exterior brick walls are the only salvageable chunks. The roof is gone. "I'm not sure money-wise. Money-wise, it's just too hard.
"I had to borrow $700 to buy some wood, just to put the boards together to close up where (the rioters) came in from, to close the building. It's just too much, you know," added Yaacoub, who carries insurance coverage for fire damage but isn't certain when or how much he might be paid to begin a rebuild.
At a strip mall two doors down from the remnants of Sam's, looters smashed the glass at the Clip Appeal salon then hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. Two local men grabbed plastic water bottles and dashed inside the shop to try to douse the flames, said Leeanna Moore, a 22-year employee.
While Moore cheered those heroics, she admitted she hasn't decided if she will ever return to work at the salon, which also carries insurance.