5 months after attack, owner of Black-owned business launches second store in Old Town Clovis

Owner Chanel Wapner has used community support to help grow her business.
CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Back in September, Just My Essentials, an Old Town Clovis business, was vandalized, spray-painted with racial slurs, and forced to shut down.

RELATED: Vandals left racist messages and destroyed parts of only Black-owned store in Old Town Clovis

Just My Essentials has not only bounced back and rebuilt from its September vandalism, but owner Chanel Wapner has used community support to help grow her business.

She has now expanded into a second location in Old Town Clovis.

As she prepares for the grand opening, Wapner tells Action News, "I'm so excited to be able to share that with you guys today, I'm just thrilled."

Wapner is growing her second business right up the road. On 7th Street and Pollasky Avenue, she has opened 'Just My Essentials 2', offering more items, with more than quadruple the amount of indoor and outdoor space.

"So I just decided that I was going to... bring more people to Old Town Clovis, especially if it's an opportunity to bring more people of color to old Town Clovis because they don't care about color here," Wapner says. "It's not that they are color blind. They just don't care about color. They care about integrity, they care about family, they care about people."

That sincere concern was evident days and even months after the September incident.

Wapner says that the community would not let her stay angry. The Clovis community wrapped their arms around her in her time of need - the public not only helped her get the business cleanup and repainted, but it also raised more than $30,000 to repair damages.

Wapner says, "I validated more about my self strength, I validated what I believed in humanity. I am positive there is more good than there is bad. I am positive that my faith in God has carried me through all of this and will continue to."

In the midst of rebuilding, San Francisco State student Sydni Mullen reached out, also wanting to help.

Mullen is studying microbiology and race and resistance. She grew up in Clovis and is back home due to the pandemic.

She says she hopes this unforgettable experience will make the community more aware and more sensitive to minority communities.

Mullen said, "I think there is no good time for something like this to happen, but in the wake of things that have happened in the past year, I think this is something that was necessary to sort of shake this community into the now and to what people like us have been experiencing."

Wapner also credits her dad, her family and her community for motivating her to keep going.

Wapner's father Eddie Gale, an American Jazz musician, was her inspiration. She says, "He was my inspiration to keep your head down and your feet moving through adversity."

He recently passed in 2020, but she is proud of his recent feature in the Black History Month film 'Judas and the Black Messiah'.

The official grand opening for 'Just My Essentials 2' will be Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6 pm.

As for the criminal case, detectives are reviewing hours of surveillance footage. The investigation is ongoing.
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