SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A grassroots effort to help Mission District businesses vandalized by a group that broke away from a protest march on Monday has raised more $7,000 in less than a week.
More than 150 people have donated to an account established on Wepay.com by Facebook designer Ben Blumenfeld shortly after the vandalism spree on Monday.
Shop owners struggling to understand why a neighborhood known for small, independent businesses was victimized welcomed the outpouring of support.
KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:
“It’s very astonishing that on Valencia Street, where everybody’s managed to keep the big box stores out, that Valencia Street was the target,” said Julienne Weston.
Her women’s apparel shop, Weston Wear, has been closed since a group San Francisco police said abruptly split away from an Occupy march Monday and went on a rampage smashing windows and spray painting store fronts up and down the commercial corridor.
“Each day is a day lost,” Weston said, adding that she hopes to reopen on Saturday and start bringing in business again.
Insurance will cover much of her $6,800 and climbing repair bill, but she and other merchants on Valencia Street pointed out that many mom-and-pop shops weren’t so fortunate.
“I think it’s important for people to see there’s faces behind these businesses and that we’re not corporations, we’re not banks,” said Steve Lopez outside Artzone 461 Gallery.
Lopez suffered about $3,000 in damage when all of the gallery’s windows were smashed.
Wells Fargo pledged to donate $25,000 to 20 businesses damaged in the melee.
Blumenfeld set a more modest goal of raising $10,000 by the weekend, said Vinnie Ang who runs Bar Tartine at the corner of 18th Street.
“As a friend of Ben’s, I’m really greatful to him for mobilizing a community of individuals in support of all of the businesses in this neighbhorhood who can benefit from that fund,” she said.
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