SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A Lower Haight cafe was on the brink of closing after two burglaries, but after support from the community, the owner has decided to stay open.
Every Sunday, music from a full jazz ensemble can be heard coming from Cafe International, which has been on Haight Street for more than 30 years.
After decades of playing music here, Gerald Bryant, a San Francisco resident, said he was nervous the good times would come to an end when Zahra, the cafe’s owner, considered closing after being burglarized twice.
“They broke in twice in a five-week period. They broke in and stole the ATM and a safe,” said Bryant.
Zahra closed for almost a week while she debated the cafe’s future.
Bryant said the community built over the years made sure she knew she was not only loved but needed. “She loves the people here so after the outpouring support from people around the world, she decided it was better to open back up again,” said Bryant.
Zahra eventually put up a note that read in part, “I said no to sunny Florida. I decided to ride the waves and stay the course with my customers and neighbors.”
“She survived one coffee cup at a time,” said Bryant. On Sunday, Cafe International was packed with people listening to jazz once again.
Thomas and Candy, San Francisco residents, met at this cafe five years ago and are grateful it will stay open. “We are getting married by Zahra at the cafe next week,” Thomas said.
Bryant says the city should do more to support small businesses.
“Get her some kind of gate that rolls down, that protects the door. That doesn’t sound like a large outlay to assist small businesses. The larger businesses will become attracted again because the small ones are the ones that keep the city running anyway.”
The community is now rallying around the owner of Cafe International to pay for security measures like a gate or cameras to deter thieves from breaking in again. A GoFundMe has been established.