A few years ago, in the dead of winter, I biked down the Bryant Bikeway a few blocks to Calhoun Pet Supply at West 36th Street to buy some food for my bunnies, Sniffy and Polly. Unfortunately, I had neglected to check their hours of operation, and they were closed. I started to remount my bike to leave, when a man runs out of the convenience store kitty corner across the intersection.
“You want to buy something? I can get it for you!” he yells.
Apparently, the stores have the same owner. Joe locks up the convenience store, “Kyle’s Market,” and runs into Calhoun Pet Supply to get my rabbit pellets. We then go back into Kyle’s to ring up the pellets. Having worked in various retail and customer service positions since middle school, I have a keen appreciation for these displays of above-and-beyond service, especially when they come from a local small business. This experience stuck in my memory and brought me back multiple times until the tearful demise of my beloved bunbuns.
What I saw this morning at Kyle’s made my heart sink and my stomach turn.
In the early morning of Valentine’s Day, an unknown vandal smashed the window of Kyle’s Market. The next morning, the same thing happened to Calhoun Pet Supply. Sadly, things would get worse. On February 21st, an unknown vandal smashed the window (but did not break through) of Kyle’s Market 10 times, and spray painted amateur but deliberate graffiti on the outside walls. One graffito reads “CLOSED” while the other two are sexist slurs directed towards women.
Owner and manager Qing Liu cannot imagine why somebody would do this to her or her husband Zhou “Joe” Fuliang. She says she has good relationships with her customers, and this is apparent as people stop in to make purchases and offer their sincere condolences. Qing cannot think of what they “did wrong.” Nothing was stolen during any of the incidents, and the last incident appears very personal. Nobody they have talked to knows anything about who did this or why.
As we’re discussing, a postal carrier stops in. She and Qing chat a bit as she gets her mail and a Chinese language newspaper. I notice a shiny new security monitor behind the counter with multiple very clear images inside and outside. Later, Qing tells me Minneapolis Police have installed one of their own cameras at the intersection.
Kyle’s Market has been in the neighborhood for 15 years. Though it is insured, the costs will be in the thousands to Qing and Joe. There has been talk of a fund being set up by Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG).
Regarding the neighborhood, Qing tells me “This is a very safe neighborhood… This neighborhood is like family.”
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