MEMPHIS, Tenn. — At the Bella Skye Couture Boutique on Frayser Boulevard, owner Leah Davis looks back on fond memories of the women’s clothing store she poured her life into opening for the Frayser community two years ago.
The building was severely damaged in this week’s storm that packed heavy rain and high winds.
“This is my baby. I put my all into this,” Davis said. “I wanted to give the Frayser community more options as far as shopping and just to come in and everything is destroyed and there’s no solution.”
Her videos and photos show ceiling panels dangling and others scattered on the floor as rain drops fall from the roof and water is almost everywhere.
“I have been here ever since. I put everything into this building. Like I didn’t get any loans. This is all off my savings,” Davis said.
Davis says her business was destroyed, along with thousands of dollars worth of inventory. She blames the damage not only on the storm, but also what she calls the neglect by her New York-based landlord.
“I have been begging him for the last year and a half to fix the roof. He keeps on patching it and now it’s just completely fell in,” Davis said.
She’s not alone. Neighboring businesses also have suffered damage.
“It was like another coworker in here and he said it was like it was raining inside the store. It was just everywhere. He had to close the store,” Jasmine Hernandez said, a neighboring store manager.
Back at Bella Skye, Leah Davis says all her landlord can only suggest is that she check her insurance policy for possible help, but she also worries about her customers.
“I’m targeting towards single Black mothers, low-income households. I just can’t believe there’s no solution. I just can’t believe it,” Davis said. “This is everything to me. This is all I got. I have nothing else.”
Davis said her insurance policy is not going to cover roof leaks that the landlord is supposed to be responsible for when there’s damage, leaving her wondering about her future.