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Longtime Rochester liquor store reopens after May looting

Charles Molineaux
Updated: July 27, 2020 11:18 PM
Created: July 27, 2020 11:16 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. WHEC) — A longtime Rochester business ravaged by looting reopened on Monday but predicted still more changes to keep its people, premises and product safe.

“You’re very apprehensive about everything,” admitted Sam Dijune, owner of Dijune Liquor on Dewey Avenue. “With the riots it really brought out what we need to do.”

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On the night of May 30, looters smashed through a front window and stole, or just smashed $250,000 in bottles of liquor and wine, with a particular preference for cognac.

“Protesters,” Dijune said through gritted teeth. "It looked like a hurricane went through. Just, everything off the shelves, destroyed. Destroyed.” 

Security video from numerous Rochester businesses on that night shows the mayhem and police have studied what the cameras at Dijune’s picked up, but Dijune himself declared he pointedly has not.

"I'm afraid to look at the videos because… If they're my customers...” he said.

"It was bad. I didn't think we were going to come this far and re-open,” said store worker John Stanton, glad to be back.

But Dijune says starting up again has been tough. He got a disaster loan and insurance has covered about half his losses. He also struggled with the very idea of coming back to the neighborhood where his family has run this business for 65 years, rather than just move out.  

"Mostly I am opening for my father, and my grandfather who were here, in this neighborhood,” he said. 

He also predicted the place will not be the same and will look less like the suburban-style store he had tried to make it, once a series of changes are finished which should be finished by the end of the year. 

Most of the shelves will be blocked off with barriers. The entire wine section will become a tasting-room only open by appointment.

And many of the workers are already armed.

“All my employees that are licensed carry,” Dijune said.

Workers here aren’t thrilled about those changes but they say they’re encouraged by the return of customers who’ve been angry at the looters and thrilled at the store’s return.

Dijune says his family business has held on and stayed in the neighborhood throughout several periods of civil unrest in Rochester in the past so he felt he had to try again.


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