MELROSE—During the protests that transpired in Melrose on May 30, 81-year-old Iranian immigrant Ned Harounian’s Dr. Marten store at 7618 Melrose Ave was looted and burned down. About half a million dollars of valuables were stolen or destroyed.
Ebbi Harounian, son of the owner, watched the store being set on fire from his T.V. His father rushed to the scene to try and save as many items as possible, but the fire had already destroyed the store and almost everything inside of it.
Looters entered the store using a crowbar to smash through the windows. Along with the merchandise, family belongings were destroyed including the owner’s late wife Yafa’s pictures, clothing and jewelry.
One of the few items the family was able to salvage from the fire was a picture of customer Shaquille O’Neal with Yafa. Ned and Yafa ran the store together for over 30 years, until Yafa passed away three years ago from pancreatic cancer.
Harounian set up a GoFundMe account to rebuild the store and fund expenses that insurance didn’t cover. So far, he’s raised $75,362 of his $125,000 goal.
Actress Halle Berry promoted the GoFundMe on her Twitter account, stating “An immigrant business owner in his 80s had his Melrose store looted then burned, and his recently deceased wife’s jewelry stolen. Things are crazy right now, but I hope we can all take a minute to help this man out!! Donate if you can.”
Ebbi told the Jewish Journal that the donations and messages being sent to him offered some light in what is a very hard time for the family, stating “I read him the messages and his eyes were full of tears. Now, he believes he can come back from this. He says, ‘When I get back on my feet, I will open the store, invite everyone, cook for them and give them hot tea.’ He doesn’t say ‘if.’ He says ‘when.’”