Kilovolt Coffee in West Oakland vandalized

A co-owner of Kilovolt Coffee on Mandela Parkway in West Oakland believes their business is being blamed for gentrification in the neighborhood.
The owner of a coffee shop in West Oakland is repairing the damage after a senseless act of vandalism. Two guys were caught on video tossing chunks of concrete through the windows. It happened at Kilovolt Coffee on Mandela Parkway and the owner thinks he knows why.

A sign, boarding up a broken window, says Kilovolt is here to stay.

"People started lining up at quarter to seven for coffee, they didn't care," co-owner Ethan Ashley said. He leased the space about a year ago when it was uninhabitable. He said, "There was nothing in here."

After a complete DIY renovation, they opened in April. Thursday morning his manager found a mess and five windows busted. Surveillance video shows two men hurling concrete through the glass.

The concrete chunks damaged the inside as well. One chipped the counter, then crashed into the cabinet and then ricocheted into the drywall.

Ashley thinks the vandals saw Kilovolt as a sign of gentrification. A flyer originated about a year ago, but the anarchist group Fireworks Bay Area tweeted it on Wednesday.

"'Vandalize developments and gentrifying businesses.' That's the line I took note of," Ashley said.

We reached out to the group Fireworks Bay Area on Thursday, but they did not respond.

Kilovolt customers sense the tension between longtime West Oakland residents and newcomers.

"I want there to be a conversation about it as opposed to an attack," Kilovolt customer Melissa Carter said.

"I' don't think this coffee shop is responsible for gentrification," another customer said.

Several weeks ago someone tagged Kilovolt with profanity that read "eat **** yuppies."

Ashley remains confident in his community and coffee.
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news vandalism coffee business Oakland West Oakland
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