A community of customers and neighbors is rallying behind Anchor Island Coffee this week after a pickup truck barreled into the front entrance of the tropical-themed breakfast spot at 41st and Troost.
Fortunately no one was injured in the after-hours incident, said co-owner Armando Vasquez, who noted he was the last person to leave the restaurant Tuesday afternoon and had already gotten home by the time the collision occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Click here to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign on behalf of the coffee shop.
Witnesses in neighboring storefronts reported that the driver was speeding, Vasquez said, and might have been arguing with one or more passengers prior to colliding with another vehicle and careening into Anchor Island.
The restaurant’s security camera footage shows multiple people exiting the truck and leaving the scene, he said, though the footage is not clear enough to be able to identify those individuals. The vehicle did not have a license plate.
Vasquez — who owns Anchor Island along with his husband, Mike Hastings — said that once he returned to the shop Tuesday night, he immediately went live on social media to inform customers about the damage and reach out for help finding contractors.
The community responded quickly, with many people showing up Tuesday evening with brooms and shovels to help clean up the broken glass, and others sharing the news on social media to connect Vasquez and Hastings with contractors and additional resources.
“We’re grateful for the community and how much support they’ve shown,” Vasquez said. “They really responded in a way where we got help really fast … so that’s amazing, and it’s really heartwarming, because when I got here and it was all broken into pieces, I just didn’t know how [I was going] to explain it to our customers.”
In addition to the damage to the front door, several chairs, some glasses, a small bar, a kiosk, and a brand new refrigerator used for cold brew coffee were all broken and will need to be replaced.
To make matters worse, Vasquez said, the landlord’s insurance on the building does not cover the damage, leaving Anchor Island’s ownership team to pay for the repairs.
“Right now we’re talking to the insurance company, but they’re not really being helpful,” Vasquez said. “So at this point, it will depend on us to cover the cost and pay everything out of pocket to rebuild everything. If we’re having to do that, then it’s going to be at a slower pace.”
Although he said he initially was hesitant to accept financial support, Vasquez agreed to allow a friend to set up a GoFundMe fundraiser for the shop.
His and Hastings’ main concern now is reopening as soon as possible to ensure that their seven employees — five of whom are full-time — have income to support themselves, he said.
“They need the money to go on with their lives,” Vasquez said. “They depend on their income from us … It’s a lot of pressure, and we have to figure out a way to make it work for everyone.”
Vasquez was hopeful that Anchor Island could begin serving customers as early as Thursday using its back entrance and second floor, especially for online orders, he said.
“It’s a whole thing that we need to experiment with to be able to bring in money so we can stay open,” Vasquez said. “We’ve been through a lot, so this is not going to stop us.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.