Community rallies after break-in at longtime San Francisco ice cream parlor

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A decades-old family owned business in San Francisco is fighting to stay open during the pandemic, despite a major hit to their revenue, and now a break-in at their Fillmore District store.

"That was a pint, right," asked 83-year-old Thomas Bennett to one of his regular customers, who are still buying ice cream and treats at his Fillmore Street store.

After 30 years in the ice cream business, Thomas Bennett has a clear favorite - cookies and cream.

"It's the best seller. That's what I like about it!"

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But over the weekend, Thomas' old fashion ice cream world shattered.

"The glass cracked, that way and this way... into tiny little pieces," said Teresa Bennett, Thomas' daughter, and co-owner of Miyako Old Fashion Ice Cream.

Teresa said burglars broke through their front window and stole cigarettes, and just about everything else in the store.

'"And then they went for the cash register, and then they went for candies, and then they went for sodas. They went for anything they could grab."

The damage and loss of inventory all added up to more than $4,000, a tough scoop to swallow, with business already down 50%.

"We've been here all this time, all these years, and this has never happened," she said.

If you walk down almost any block on Fillmore Street right now, most stores are closed.

Despite everyone's deeply difficult struggles right now, hundreds of people have donated to keep the ice cream shop open.

As of Thursday night, a GoFundMe for Miyakos raised more than $10,000 from more than 300 donors.

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Jameel Patterson, a community advocate, set up the fundraiser.

"We need to preserve things in our community."

The Bennett's say Miyakos is the only black-owned ice cream parlor in San Francisco.

"They deserve a win. The community deserves a win," explained Patterson.

The Bennett's say the donations have sweetened spirits and their bottom line.

"I did not know so many people cared about us," said Thomas.

Teresa has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. "That's just a lot of love."

Break-ins, pandemics, or otherwise, Thomas and Teresa say there will always be room for ice cream... seven days a week at Miyakos.

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