109-Year-Old Camera Store Burned Down in Jacob Blake Riots, Site Visited by Trump

109-Year-Old Camera Store Burned Down in Jacob Blake Riots, Site Visited by Trump

A camera store that had been trading for 109 years got caught in the crossfire of riots taking place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake. President Trump has visited the former site of Rode’s Camera Shop after it was burned to the ground during the protests.

Current owner Tom Gram had been an employee at the store for 41 years before taking the reins from the Rode family, who opened the shop back in 1911. Gram ran the shop with business partner Paul Willette, who detailed the devastating sentimental losses to Kenosha News:

This was just a building, but people’s memories were inside. That’s what is killing me. A woman had just come in Monday and brought in a photo of her grandparents in elementary school, wanting it to be restored. I left it on my desk. Now, it’s all gone. Our customers lost family memories.

“We understand the protests, but why destroy these businesses?” added Gram.

So historic is the store that even President Trump paid the site a visit, despite the co-owners stating outright that they “didn’t want anything to do with President Trump.” Despite the current owners declining the visitation offer, former owner John Rode III was drafted in to host the President. “I just appreciate President Trump coming today; everybody here does,” Rode said.

So, what’s next for the store owners? Gram says he’ll likely retire earlier than originally planned, while Willette says he’ll be looking for a new job, although he didn’t specify if it would be in the same field.

All images Shealah Craighead, courtesy of the White House.

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92 Comments

Deleted Account's picture

#camerastorematter
Before burning it down to the ground it was plundered in the BLM/Antifa tradition?

Mike Yamin's picture

Congratulations you rioting fools! Everything you do hurts your "cause."

Tammie Lam's picture

How do you know that wasn't an alt-right provocation?

Mike Yamin's picture

The same way I know it wasn’t the KKK... because they barely exist. Meanwhile, my social media feeds are flooded with videos of anti-American groups like BLM and Antifa intimidating or hurting people and destroying property, all while being supported by everyday people on the left. Their hateful beliefs aren’t fringe, they’re mainstream.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I would say that you have "social" media disconnect. Get new friends, keep your older ones and think. You need to see two sides to understand both, otherwise you waste your time.

Alex Herbert's picture

I'm so glad I'm not an American and can view what is happening there as an outsider. Both 'sides' seem to be so hopelessly locked into their group view that they disregard anything else as a lie.

Lawrence S's picture

It seems to be the nature of US citizens with the loudest voice. Their whole political system thrives on polarisation. You have to pick sides and defend it no matter what. This results in every theme, every issue, every problem is a divide. Not a debat or discussion to work towards a solution, no it's a Mexican stand off. And the first one who tries to find common grounds or condemns the wrong doing on both sides, is attacked by both sides for being "weak". Even if you are wrong, even if your "team" crosses the line with lies and violence. "What line?" is the answer then. To an outsider it almost appears it's worse to pick no side than to lose. And the silent majority doesn't want to step in or fears to be humiliated and stays silent. And nothing changes ever. Just two sides growing apart.

Charles J's picture

What are the hateful beliefs?

Thomas H's picture

BLM is "anti American"? How so? It is an uprising, a resistance. Do you actually know the per capita police shooting statistics? What happens in America is sad, it can only be found in dictatorships and totalitarian regimes. Just look at the numbers in all of Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and / or India, the largest democracy on the planet. In my ears still rings the observation that since Trump "America is a nation of two hostile tribes." It is stunning how many most positive terms will be literally perverted, turned upside down in the American media. The most prominent example is the term "liberal," what is outside of the US universally a positive term, describing people pursuing reason, freedom and economic reality in a gentle way. Here it has been turned into some form of a hostile label. It is even used in a derogatory meaning to attack political opponents: "he/she is a radial liberal." No, radical is opposite of liberal. You are either radical, or you are liberal.

Tammie Lam's picture

You seem to spend way too much time on Facebook reading posts from your Russian buddies, Миша. Facebook algorithms bubble posts based on your previous interest, and unfortunately this disinformation and hate is all you see. Look at real public news outlets and do some fact checking if you care.

Bruce G's picture

Tammie, now that time has passed, look back and see how stupid your question was.

Rich Poinvil's picture

Just about all the protests around the US are peaceful. But there is a different, opportunistic element that shows up at night. Those folks are not protesters.

Alex Herbert's picture

Rioters don't have a cause... protesters do.

Bruce G's picture

Is the cause doing "good" or "evil"?

Alex Herbert's picture

I don't use terms like 'good' and 'evil' they don't describe anything that exists outside of religious texts.

Michael Kormos's picture

They are all peaceful protesters.

Tony Clark's picture

The original/previous owner stood in for the photo op. The current owner didn’t want to participate in Trumps plan.

Deleted Account's picture

As everyone could read in the article.

M M's picture

I just wish the US didn't split everything into a partisan issue. The rioting is bad, but so is excessive police force. As always this issue will be used by politicians for show and nothing will change. Which is to the detriment of everybody.

James Madara's picture

Exactly. I remain politically independent because 'both sides' aren't working for anyone in the US.

Bruce G's picture

Both wings are from the same bird.

Mike Yamin's picture

The trouble is some people see something amplified in the media that is extremely rare (i.e. police killing an unarmed person) and believe it happens every day. If they looked at things objectively (real stats), they might react appropriately and actually start a reasonable and rational dialogue with the other side.

Mike Yamin's picture

Like I said, rare, but your link doesn’t lend credibility to itself by calling the Ferguson incident “police brutality.”

Thomas H's picture

It is not rare, it is on the level of Venezuela, or any other junta or dictatorship. Just inform yourself before writing here the ad hoc factual falsehood. The conduct of the police here is a stain on this society, it must change.

M M's picture

The deadly shootings are just the tip of the iceberg. Talk to some black people who grew up in poor neighborhoods and they will tell you plenty of stories of people being mistreated by police for no good reason and without consequences. Often they get get jailed with trumped up charges ("Wanna plead guilty and get 3 years or maintain innocence and get 25? Your choice. Make sure you can afford a good lawyer") . The stories I have heard simply don't happen to white and affluent people at the same number.

US police and the whole legal system definitely have a massive problem with over-prosecuting poor people and often non-white people. The US has 5% of the world population and 25% of the prison population. Something is going very, very wrong there.

Mike Yamin's picture

Everything you said is worth examining in a mature, productive way. My point is that people plug their ears and go “LA-LA-LA” to a serious issue when they see innocent people suffer at the hands of violent, unreasonable people.

M M's picture

That's the typical problem in this country. Either you have to ignore the rioting or you have to ignore police brutality. Somehow it's not possible to say that both need to be fixed.

Chris Collins's picture

Always interesting of how its excessive policing with those who fight the cops, resist the cops, cuss the cops, etc.

M M's picture

There is also a group of people who gets policed way more than others. When marijunana was still illegal in California the cops would constantly search people in poor neighborhoods for drugs but never in the rich ones. although you could just walk around and notice pot smell coming from these very nice houses.

Tammie Lam's picture

This is trump's America. Instead of calming people down the Teflon Don (tm) only makes things worse by spilling extra hate and division.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

No article on the PPP riot Jack? Lots of people lost their jobs and businesses during that riot. My grade on your story are L & S. Any riot is wrong and I defend neither. I do however notice that the original owner cashed in and let go the store long ago. No crying please.

sam dasso's picture

Original owner sold a business but kept the building that was with a family for more than 100 years. It isn't photo op when your property is destroyed by the mob.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yes, two owners, but not for the public address... He'll get a new building or the cash from the insurance. I hope the family paid off the building in 100 years. The owners of the shop, that's another story, lost their income, one to retire, one planning on finding a job. So yes 100% photo Op, building owner loses nothing, worst case gets a brand new more valuable building up to code. Don't even try.

SPEE DING's picture

You can guarantee new building? Who pays for that? Did the business owners say they were insured against rioting mob...I mean peaceful protest? Watching local news (KSTP) several said they either carried insufficient coverage or had fallen short on paying the premiums due to forced government COVID shutdown of their business. Perhaps the better question is why should small business owners face higher premiums because of BLM mob looting and torching their business?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

If you don't pay or can't pay your insurance, you take a risk, but that has zero to do with riots. Riots are actually part of basic coverages if you do some research. It sounds that those claims of not being covered for riots are bs for media purpose.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

Even if the damage was covered in any way losses are not covered in full.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

You do understand that we are talking about the building here? Right? The shop owner who lost everything inside and did not want to be part of this photo op probably lost a lot yes, the building owner not. Please read before getting involved.

Dan Seefeldt's picture

Understand insurance before getting involved.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

That's it? You don't elaborate. What a no reply. Show me.

Rich Bind's picture

Vandalism and malicious damage included on standard US property policy with deductible. The problem being the amount of insurance carried if underinsured there will be a penalty. Property insurance limit of liability based on co-insurance clause usually 90 per cent of total value of property per surveyor. On any loss the insured is therefore part co-insurer. Total losses are rare which explains co-insurance clause. Moral hazard as the reason to protect insurer. As for the contents that is more of a problem. Replacement cost less depreciation equals actual cash value applied on fixtures and fittings. Major Insurance claims take years to settle usually in court. See WTC 2001 insurance court case.

SPEE DING's picture

You have insurance for your home/building right? Who's going to help you with the deductible and who's going to provide steady income while the rubble is hauled away and a new building is designed, permitted and rebuilt? Perhaps BLM will right you a check? Perhaps you've never dealt with insurance claims on a level of devastation this severe. They pay a tiny fraction of the total cost of your business losses (if they pay at all).

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Well again, that's not the situation here so I am guessing you do it in purpose. Have a good day.

SPEE DING's picture

Nothing in the article suggests the building will be re-built by magic insurance wand tomorrow. Do you have a source suggesting otherwise? It's been 1 week and the building remains a pile of rubble. Perhaps BLM should consider destroying people's lives is not the best way to gain support for their cause.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Nothing says the building owner was stupid enough that he was poorly or not covered. His best outcome is probably to cash in if the value of a total loss was specified in his contract (if he is smart he did that right) and then sell the empty lot. You sound like your only experience is with used old cars which have no value at any time when it comes to insurance. This guy is going to make money out of this, or he is really not bright.

SPEE DING's picture

You still haven't provided a source to support your theory that the building owner is insured against rioters torching his property. All wishful thinking on your part. What money is he going to make on a pile of rubble and where does that money come from? What liens did he have on the property in question? What is the value of a once demolished property subject to rioting and looting?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Are you still at the step where you believe the owner of the building and the owner of the shop are the same person? Looks like it.

SPEE DING's picture

Nope. Try again. The owner of the building - you still haven't provided a source to support your theory that the building owner is insured against rioters torching his property.

What money is he going to make on a pile of rubble and where does that money come from?
What liens did he have on the property in question?
What is the value of a once demolished property subject to rioting and looting?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Sounds like his family was smart enough to run the business for over 100 years and apparently in that same building for many decades. Hopefully he knew what he was doing before retiring too. If you doubt that, I suggest you call him and ask how he runs his life. This is not science dude, and even if you don't believe in science you should get some clue. I am guessing you don't believe in insurance that's becoming very clear. I'll keep answering your questions, it's entertaining.

SPEE DING's picture

Which of those decades did BLM torch his families building? Shoulda seen that coming right? I have worked through many corporate and private insurance claims worth tens of millions - I'm rather familiar with the intricacies of property claims. There is no magical insurance wand you can waive and instantly restore the revenue generating structure that once was.

It seems you still can't answer these fundamental questions. Why is that?

What money is he going to make on a pile of rubble and where does that money come from?
What liens did he have on the property in question?
What is the value of a once demolished property subject to rioting and looting?

It'll all be okay right...because you say so. Hhahhahhaahahahha

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