Although many businesses targeted by vandals on Monday night were still making repairs on Tuesday, most opened for business. Many of the employees Mission Loc@l interviewed said the violence had brought neighborhood businesses closer.
“I think that many of the small businesses are in better dialogue with each other now,” said Bar Tartine’s general manager, Vinny Eng, adding that this gives neighboring businesses an opportunity to talk about how they could be more supportive of each other.
On Tuesday, neighbors began a fundraising campaign to help local businesses with repair costs, with a goal of raising $10,000. As of Tuesday evening, $1,800 had been raised on the website WePay.
Following a peaceful assembly at Dolores Park at about 8 p.m. on Monday, a group of 50 to 75 protesters took to the streets of the Mission. Some picked up tables and chairs and threw them Farina restaurant’s windows.
Others tried to set cars on fire along 18th Street, according to J.H. Kolsteni, Farina’s chief financial officer. Car windows were smashed and tires slashed.
Police received approximately 500 calls with reports of damage and arrested one person.
On Tuesday, Mission Police Captain Robert Moser and Supervisor David Campos talked to all of the businesses that were targeted.
“My understanding is that it was a small group of people that infiltrated the demonstration,” Campos said. “Most of the people were peaceful but a small number of people infiltrated. They were the ones who caused the vandalism.”
Most businesses were open at the time of the attack and had customers. They saw and heard the protesters coming.
Employees said that protesters were wearing black, their faces covered in masks or bandanas.
“The people were in black, they were hooded,” said Kolsteni. “It was like they were terrorists. If it was Halloween, I would have called them ninjas.”
“It’s unfortunate that we had vandalism that took place,” Campos said. “I support the right of expression, but we don’t want to see that turn to violence. I am very disappointed that it happened and you know my heart goes out to the businesses that were vandalized and to the residents whose property was also vandalized.”
At Therapy, a clothing store on Valencia Street, General Manager Cat Mayfield said that it all happened very quickly.
“It sounded like gunshots were hitting our windows,” she said of the noise as protesters hit the windows with crowbars and threw paintballs.
“It was almost like a tornado went through on our side of the street and destroyed everything in its path. It was scary,” Mayfield said.
After protesters left, Therapy’s security guard and a customer spoke to a man who they said may have been affiliated with the protesters. He told them he was part of “Black Ops.”
Customers and employees called business owners who weren’t at the scene and turned to social media networks to let people know what was happening.
“We had 15 different calls from our neighbors and people posted on our Facebook page: ‘Hey, you guys, your windows have gotten broken,’” said Jason Perkins, owner of the event venue Brick and Mortar.
“I thankfully had my fellow merchants calling my cellphone over and over again. I was at a concert and they finally got hold of me,” said Bridget Moore, Weston Wear’s general manager.
“A couple of the guys from West of Pecos stayed in front until I came,” Moore said. “They stayed and kept an eye out and helped clean up. It was great that fellow merchants just kind of banded together.”
Along Valencia Street, other restaurants, including Locanda, Bar Tartine and Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, were busy cleaning up so they could open for business Tuesday evening.
“Ironically, they used water-soluble paint,” Bar Tartine’s Eng said, adding that employees of Locanda helped them wash off the paint thrown at their storefront.
At Weston Wear, the damage was too great to open for business. Three floor-to-ceiling windows were smashed and Moore had to board up the business for a few days. She hopes the store will reopen by the weekend, she said.
Although it’s too early for most to know exactly how much the acts of vandalism have cost them, many are getting estimates from repair crews.
At Weston Wear, repairs will cost approximately $7,000. That doesn’t include the loss of business due to closure, Moore said.
At Brick and Mortar, Perkins, the owner, said the cost to replace six broken windows was roughly $12,000. The windows were replaced Tuesday morning, and the venue is open for business.
“We are up and running,” Perkins said. “We determined in the morning that no matter what, we are going to be open.”
Many employees of the affected small businesses didn’t understand why they were targeted, as most businesses in the area are independently owned.
“We are totally invested in this community and it’s shaking to have something that is yours be demolished,” Moore said, adding that the clothing she sells is manufactured in San Francisco.
“We are a San Francisco small business employing people that work in the Mission,” Perkins said. “We had events with Occupy, we employ musicians that live and work in the neighborhood, you can’t be any more [of a] small business than us. Why we are being targeted is beyond me.”
“I guarantee you none of those people live in the Mission; you wouldn’t attack the place you live in, unless you’re an idiot,” Perkins said.
Most restaurants were able to open for dinner Tuesday night, but some, such as Farina on 18th Street, said they were taking steps to prepare for possible future incidents.
“We’re taking precautions in the event something like this would happen again,” Kostelni said.
“We’re not taking our tables and chairs out front, and we’re positioning our security gate just in case.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly misspelled Jason Perkins’ last name. We regret the error.