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FERGUSON, Mo. — QuikTrip Corp. is turning a tragedy into a plus for the local community.
The Tulsa, Okla.-based retailer is donating the site of its former Ferguson convenience store to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. The civic organization will build a new job training center on the property at 9420 W. Florissant Ave. location.
QuikTrip closed the c-store in August after rioters robbed and set fire to the store in this St. Louis suburb. The riot began following a candlelight vigil for Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who was shot and killed during an altercation with a Ferguson police officer, as CSNews Online previously reported.
The store was one of approximately a dozen businesses that were looted and vandalized on the night of Aug. 10.
QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said the company found through its due diligence process that the property lacked economic viability, given that the structure was built in the 1980s and QuikTrip had built another location a mile away on West Florissant Avenue, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.
He added that the site did have value to the community and the new jobs center "just seemed like to us the best use of the property."
To be known as the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center, the planned facility will be the new location for the organization's "Save Our Sons" workforce program. Announced in January, Save Our Sons offers job training and placement services for African Americans and other young men residing in Ferguson and surrounding North County communities.
"We are extremely grateful to QuikTrip Corp. for the generous donation of this property to provide the site for our new Ferguson Community Empowerment Center," said Michael P. McMillan, president and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. "This truly is a 'rising from the ashes' to demonstrate how our community can work together to bring about positive change in the wake of events that have disrupted lives, prompted community unrest, and impacted the business environment."
The $500,000 project will also offer counseling for housing, rent and utility assistance, and mental health services. Provident Inc. will provide the center's mental health counseling for youth and adults.
After the former QuikTrip property is cleared, ground is expected to be broken for the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center in the spring, according to the civic organization.
QuikTrip was founded in 1958 and operates more than 700 convenience stores in 12 states.