MINNEAPOLIS -- Cup Foods, the south Minneapolis convenience store whose 911 call led to the fatal encounter between George Floyd and Minneapolis police, reopened Monday, instantly challenging those who want the corner to remain a memorial to victims of police violence.
Dozens of protesters gathered in front of the store at the intersection of 38th and Chicago on Monday afternoon demanding it remain closed. The standoff was tense, with what sounded like gunfire nearby as opponents confronted people who showed up in defense of the store.
Jamar Nelson, a spokesman for the family that owns Cup Foods, said "it was absolutely time to open up" and that the store would stay open regardless of protests.
"We're not trying to hurt anyone, but if not now, when?" he asked. "How long (will) the store continue to be blamed for the death of George Floyd?"
On the night of May 25, a Cup Foods employee called the police to report that a man had used a counterfeit $20 bill at the store, according to charging documents and the 911 call transcript. Floyd was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by officers in front of the store less than 30 minutes later.
The store shut down as 38th and Chicago was barricaded and turned into a makeshift memorial and vigil site for Floyd. Cup Foods tried to reopen three weeks later but closed after a few days.
On Monday, neighbors said the owners attempted reopening a few times since then. Nelson disputed that claim, but admitted that "there should've been a longer mourning period before we opened up the first time."
A security guard stood by the entrance of the store Monday morning, a small neon sign on the window declaring it "OPEN." Employees stood behind the counters, the shelves fully stocked with drinks and snacks.
Co-owner Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, wearing a T-shirt depicting a colorful memorial in tribute to Floyd on the store's southern wall, was opening a pack of disposable face masks. He declined to be interviewed.
For many at the intersection, it was as if a wound had been reopened. They described the store, which has been there for more than 30 years, as holding back the South Side and being a magnet to illicit activity on the corner.