Local business owner says harassment forced him to move his store
Jamie Nordstrom has spent his adult life working in retail.
"I've been in retail for 20 plus years. I've been everything from the lowest sales associate all the way up to store managers," said Nordstrom.
Earlier this year, he decided he was going to try and open his own business at the 700 block of State Street in La Crosse.
A women's clothing and accessory store called Unique Boutique.
But he says his dream store quickly turned into a nightmare.
"From day one I started moving stuff into the shop and that was about I'd say three weeks before I opened up the store. It was just constant homophobic slurs, spitting on my windows. I've cleaned up human feces out of my doorway," said Nordstrom.
He opened up the store on May 4, but says nothing changed.
After only being open for one month, Nordstrom decided he had to temporarily close Unique Boutique and immediately start looking for a new location.
"The decision to temporarily close the store was probably the hardest decision I have made," says Nordstrom. "Considering I had taken such a risk opening the store. You know you put all your time and all your money into it that you have and when it doesn't work out it's just really sad."
During the entire ordeal, Nordstrom says he has been in contact with the La Crosse Police Department as well as the Salvation Army, which was located next to the store.
"I've never experienced the kind of hate and level of just disrespect to people's personal property ever in La Crosse. I've moved away twice, I came back because of that reason. It's just a great place to live, great place to have a business if you can open one," he said.
Nordstrom says he believes the people who vandalized his store consistently were homeless and frequented the area.
"I definitely don't blame anyone for the situation that I was in. All I ask is just for the community just to kind of focus, take a look at the homeless situation, see what we can do to help them. There's not enough resources out there and there really needs to be more," said Nordstrom.
Tuesday Nordstrom announced he has found a new location for Unique Boutique at 515 Main Street in downtown La Crosse.
He says he hope to have his store back open in a couple of weeks.