ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Susan Hinkle didn't know if her bookstore would make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Thought I was gonna have to close, it was really difficult," she said. "Then everything started looking up, people were coming out, store was getting busy. Then all of a sudden..."
All of a sudden tragedy struck as Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed by deputies, and an outpouring of protests followed.
Hinkle felt the effects on her store: "Trying to stay positive, trying to stay open. People seem afraid to come downtown, but there's no reason to be afraid really, because all the protests have been peaceful. But it seems 2, 3 o’clock on, the streets have been empty."
The impacts hit even closer to home, with a collective initiative to not spend money in Elizabeth City on Wednesdays.
"We all wanna do the right thing, but we need to make a living, we were doing so well, now we're afraid of what’s gonna happen to us."
Ernest Banks has lived in Elizabeth City for 65 years.
"It's a tragedy, it's a very tragic thing," said Banks, wearing adorned in clothing supporting Andrew Brown Jr.
He also runs a business in the area, but that hasn't changed his view of the financial protest.
"I support it wholeheartedly. Even if my business suffers too, I still support it, we gotta put a statement out there," he said.