Dinkytown store owners repair buildings in riots’ aftermath

Amy Hackbarth

Mike Dubovich wasn’t in Dinkytown during the riots Sunday morning after the NCAA hockey championship game.

But he watched the mayhem on the television news, where he saw his store, Just All Wireless, in the background.

“When I saw the store on TV, I didn’t see any damage,” he said.

But when Dubovich, Just All Wireless vice president, went to work Monday morning, he found a fist-sized hole and splintering cracks in the store’s front window.

Just All Wireless is one of at least five Dinkytown businesses that incurred damage during the chaotic aftermath of the Gophers victory.

Owners of the businesses said they never expected the crowd would smash windows, use spray paint and otherwise damage Dinkytown businesses after the game.

“I think they were all surprised,” said Skott Johnson, Dinkytown Business Association president. “We all knew there was going to be a championship game, but we didn’t expect damage to be done.”

Some employees whose businesses weren’t damaged kept vigil over their buildings until the chaos subsided.

Irv Hershkovitz, owner of Dinkytown Wine and Spirits, said the riot was the first he had seen in 20 years of working in Dinkytown.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen people celebrating and damaging,” he said.

Rioters broke one of the store’s front windows.

They also broke windows at Storchak Cleaners, East Bank and the House of Hanson.

Rioters also broke a $75 ceramic pot outside Campus Cards.

Owners of most of the damaged stores estimated repairs would cost a couple hundred dollars. The window at Dinkytown Wine and Spirits, for example, cost $250 to replace.

The window at Just All Wireless will cost $1,000 to replace.

Employees from other businesses stayed in their buildings to keep them from harm.

“We stayed here until three to clean up and just chill out,” said Renate Kroschinski, manager of The Library Bar and Grill. “We waited until everything cleared out.”

The Library, which housed the majority of the students celebrating the Gophers win, reported no damage from the riot.

The Dinkytowner provided a respite for 12 students who had been pepper-sprayed, said Billy Bison, one of the restaurant’s bartenders. Later, he said, the police closed the bar to prevent students from entering.

But physical presence didn’t keep pepper spray from entering the buildings. Casey Hennessy, a Dub’s bartender, said pepper spray seeped into the restaurant while he and the owner kept watch during the riot.

“It came in every time the doors opened,” he said.

Memories of the riot will fade once damaged businesses are repaired, Johnson said. The issue probably won’t be discussed in the Dinkytown Business Association’s next meeting, he said.

Apart from occasional reports of graffiti and minor theft, most business owners said they haven’t had problems with student behavior in the area.

“It’s been a pretty safe neighborhood,” said Rick Blomquist, East Bank vice president, where a
window was broken.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we need to be alarmed on a continual basis.”

Amy Hackbarth welcomes comments at [email protected]