CHICAGO — Neil Mehra’s cigar shop just off Chicago’s Michigan Avenue wouldn’t normally share much in common with big brand-name stores such as Tiffany’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, whose boutiques sit on the choicest spots on the city’s most iconic street.
But this week they share foreboding over whether the economics and reputation of one of America’s most prestigious shopping districts can rebound from damage done by hours of looting Monday in and around the mile-long strip known as the Magnificent Mile.
Mehra’s Hubbard & State Cigar Shop was hit by similar smash-and-grab attacks in late May, when some took advantage of protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis to break into stores. Monday’s looting came as businesses had begun reopening amid pandemic-related disruptions.
By the time Mehra rushed to his store Monday, nearly everything of value was gone, with rows of shelves stripped clean of high-end cigars worth up to $800 a box….
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