CVS damaged in Raleigh riots reopens, another step towards downtown's comeback

Posted February 4, 2021 5:50 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2021 6:52 p.m. EST

— The CVS on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh was looted and burned when peaceful protests gave way to violence last summer. Its reopening signaled not only a new start for the story, but an improving economic forecast for downtown businesses.

On Thursday, Dana Ray, of CVS Health, said the entire interior was new. Employees were still stocking shelves even as people stopped by to take pictures in celebration of that remodel and rebirth.

“It was heartbreaking to go through it, but we are excited to be back for our patients and our customers,” Ray said.

Downtown Raleigh businesses suffered – first from shutdowns linked to the pandemic, then as office workers stayed home and large conventions and events were canceled. The riots added another layer of hardship.

Last year, Bill King, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, says 33 businesses closed in the downtown area, but just as many opened. Other shops are temporarily closed, with hopes of reopening later.

“We have good days and we have bad days," King said. "Because of the virus numbers and where we are with vaccinations, we still don’t have the level of foot traffic we normally have.”

Sarah Moody is a recent investor in downtown. In November, she opened Triangle Pop-Up – a store featuring products by local artists. Even after the holiday buying rush died down, she decided to stay a bit longer.

And she sees other business owners doing the same.

"(They are) just trying to stick around and make it through this period of time, and hopefully one day things will be thriving in downtown Raleigh,” Moody said.

The timing of a real comeback depends on the pandemic and vaccination.

Most of the plywood, placed to prevent further damage after the violence in May, is gone, and downtown is open for business, King said.

He encouraged anyone who wants to support downtown businesses to visit and spend money.

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