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Minnesota based Seward Pharmacy Starts Community Help

Elias Usso, a corporate retail pharmacist always dreamt of opening a pharmacy. In 2018 usso and his wife Mawerdi Hamid opened Seward Pharmacy on East Lake Street. Less than a year later the couple lost everything.

George Floyd’s murder, looters gutted Seward Pharmacy a half a million-dollar loss. Usso said their immediate focus was getting patients’ prescriptions transferred to other pharmacies, especially those who depend on their medications daily. That was also hard because many pharmacies were also hit. About 1,500 businesses across the Twin Cities were damaged or destroyed by rioters following Floyd’s death.

Lake Street was hit hard, impacting many businesses owned by immigrants and people of color. Usso, an Ethiopian immigrant, was forced to close the pharmacy for three months. The pharmacy was reopened in September 2020. They are working to help people get vaccinated. Nearly 2.9 million Minnesotans have had at least one dose and 2.6 million people have completed a vaccine series as of Thursday. About 65% of all Minnesotans 16 years old and older have been fully vaccinated.

This year again the pharmacy was looted after Daunte Wright’s death. The couple recovered from the losses.Many nonprofits and community members have offered support to Seward Pharmacy. Nonprofit support included Lake Street Council, African Economic Development Solutions of Minnesota, and Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers. In March, Lake Street Council awarded a total of $750,000 among 10 small businesses through its “Healthy Lake Street Fund.” Seward Pharmacy was one of the 10 recipients. Usso said that the community helped them to recover. Without their support, they wouldn’t have made it.

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