Nigerian salon owner Orlando Ogutoyinbo has lived in Chicago for 17 years, and said he’s tired of the shootings. His salon was originally located on Sheridan and Sunnyside Avenue, a few blocks away from where he witnessed a homeless person get shot.
So, to escape gun violence in Uptown, Ogutoyinbo moved his self-named business to the South Loop in July.
“Kids think it’s fun to shoot at people,” said 41-year-old owner of Orlando’s Salon, who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria.
Other owners in Uptown say the gun violence has disturbed their business.
“This used to be a good neighborhood,” said Nana Yaw, owner of the Makola African Supermarket. “You could walk around at 2 a.m. and be safe.”
But, Yaw, originally from Ghana, is happy to see more police cars patrolling the area within the past month.
“Now, I see police cars from five to ten times a day,” said Yaw, who has lived in Uptown for 24 years. “Because of that, gangbangers have stopped fighting on the streets.
In late September 2013, police arrested a 20-year-old man for a shooting in front of Uptown Baptist Church. This church is right across the street from Orlando’s salon’s first location.
Papa Ray’s Pizza and Wings, which is a couple blocks away from the church, say that business owners are working with Ald. James Cappleman (46th) and the police to keep gangs off the streets.
“If we see gang bangers on the corner, we immediately call the police,” said Matt Villareal, director of operations at Papa Ray’s.