‘I stood to protect my family’s legacy’: Longtime Richmond business looted, community helps clean up

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Founded in 1900, Waller & Company Jewelers is a fixture of the Richmond community.

“My grandfather started the business,” said Richard Waller, Jr., who began helping at the store when he was 7-years-old.

As one of the oldest black-owned businesses in Richmond, four generations of the Waller family have seen the city through its ups and downs.

The recent Richmond protests is another chapter in their history that saw looters break-in and steal.

“After we were vandalized on Friday night, Saturday night I came out here and I stood to protect my family’s legacy,” said Leonetty Gray, Richard’s niece. “I stood out in front of that building for three and a half hours to protect that building until I no longer personally felt safe and I felt like something could happen to me.”

Once she left, the looting began.

“Very unfortunate due to the positive effects of people trying to protest,” said David Waller, owner and manager. “Some people who didn’t have good intentions decided to use this opportunity to do break-ins and break glass and be violent.”

But in times of trouble the good also comes out in Richmond as local fraternities and sororities came together to help repair the store.

“It was great,” said Waller, Jr. “We had people, 100 kids that were out front yesterday.”

“It filled my heart. It filled my spirit.,” added Gray, who says she is thankful for everyone that helped. “I really truly don’t even have the words.”

The Divine Nine

“We are about community service,” said Samantha Thompson, member of The Divine Nine group who helped Waller & Company Jewelers. “That’s the foundation of our organizations, black Greek letter organizations. So when it was time to come and support our community it was a no-brainer. We’re just gonna to do it.”

“You treat people right, then right will follow you. No matter what happens,” added Waller, Jr.


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