Riot Casualty: Brooklyn Center Firefighter Loses Sports Bar
Korboi Balla was set to open up Scores Sports Bar in south Minneapolis this spring.
“I love sports,” said Balla, who is a Brooklyn Center firefighter. “It’s my passion.”
But when you mix a pandemic with a riot it’s tough to start a business. COVID-19 put the brakes Balla’s grand opening, then last week in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the sports bar was looted, vandalized and burned to the ground.
“It was surreal,” Balla said. “There was a lot of mixed emotions. Your hurt, your mad, your angry. You can feel the pain.”
A guy who gets paid to put out fires felt powerless as his business went up in smoke.
“I just looked out the window,” Ball said. “That’s when I just kind of broke down. Man this is bad. It sucks.”
GoFundMe page raises $1.1 million for Scores Sports Bar
Now, out of the ashes, something positive is growing. Thanks to a GoFundMe page started by his wife and cousin, more than $1.1 million has been raised so Balla can rebuild..
“The GoFundMe doing is phenomenal,” Balla said. “I can’t even express my gratitude and thanks for it. I am going to give back to the community.”
Balla is blown away by the love and support he has received, including from the Brooklyn Center Fire Department. He promises to assist other mom-and-pop shops on the same riot-torn block.
“Those are the people really hurting right now,” Balla said. “That’s why I’m going to try my best and do everything in my power to give back to those people.”
Even though south Minneapolis is charred and scarred, Balla says he is undaunted and will eventually open his sports bar.
“I don’t have to rush to try to reopen,” Balla said. “I can take a year, find a location. Get the plan and figure everything out.”
If things go according to Balla’s wishes, someday the Minnesota Vikings will finally win the Super Bowl trophy and people will be watching at his new sports bar exploding with joy.