Effort underway to help Mission businesses

May 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Some businesses in the Mission District are just now getting back on their feet after the damage caused by vandals Monday. That's when 15 stores were damaged in a pre-May Day demonstration that got out of control.

Some of the stores had to remain closed until they could make repairs and now there's a new effort to raise some money for them.

There is surveillance video from outside the Mission Police Station Monday night of vandals on Valencia Street setting out to destroy everything in sight.

"We thought it was just a regular protest down the street," said Andrea Rocha.

Rocha was working at clothing store Therapy. She knew there was a demonstration going on at Dolores Park that night. Around 8:30 she heard a commotion.

"We stuck our heads out the window and we noticed there were people wearing black masks and they were holding crowbars, they were holding bats," said Rocha. "There was a car parked right in front of us and they completely broke down all the windows."

The vandals smashed Therapy's front windows.

"The cost of how much it is to repair that is just phenomenal," said Rocha.

Now, there's help for the affected businesses. Ben Blumenfeld is a designer at Facebook and is leading a fundraising effort on We-Pay, a website for collecting money. Mat Cullen of Therapy's home store is all for it.

"Facebook.com/Ben I guess he is. I think that's really great, it's really sweet 2," said Cullen.

The goal is to raise $10,000 to give to businesses. It will be need based.

"I know like two days after the incident we already raised about $5,000, so it's just really awesome to see that the people in our neighborhood they care," said Cullen.

Cullen wasn't working the night of the vandalism, but got a good look at it the next morning.

"I think the people who were vandalizing didn't realize that there are actual faces behind the stores that they're defacing. We're not like Macy's or Target, we've just been here building up our business for 18 years," said Cullen.

Over $8,000 has been raised so far, so they are getting close to their goal.


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