CATALINA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – A Catalina business owner woke up Saturday to more than a dozen windows broken at her restaurant, the Sunny Side Up Café, a staple in the tight-knit community.
The restaurant has been at the location on Oracle Rd. for eight years, and served customers for nearly 15, but this is the first time the owners witnessed such vandalism.
“It wasn’t just one break to each window. It was three or four smashes, all the way down. It wasn’t just boom, boom, boom. They took their time,” owner Leslie Logan told KGUN9 News.
Restaurant employees and customers boarded up a total of 18 windows and fixed all the lights surrounding the restaurant. Logan said it will cost about $30,000 to fix the damage, adding that it’s no small amount for a mom-and-pop shop trying to compete with large restaurant franchises and to survive tough economic times.
“Of course being a small business and coming into summer, it puts a dent on the way we do business,” Logan said. “Everybody’s out there fighting for every dollar there is. With the economy people aren’t able to spend as much as they could.”
Just steps away from the restaurant is an abandoned building with graffiti that Logan has attempted to cover with fresh paint recently, along with various walls that have also been vandalized in the surrounding area.
“I’ve recently noticed a big increase in graffiti activity up here,” Logan said. “This puts you on guard. It puts you on edge. Catalina used to be this nice, quiet community and it seems recently it’s becoming more downtown.”
Customers have pitched in to help the Logans by cleaning up the mess on Saturday and offering to help financially.
“It’s discouraging. I don’t feel unsafe here. I’ve never felt unsafe here, but this thing is kind of sad,” said Hugh Smith, a loyal customer who eats at Sunny Side every weekend. “I don’t think people who did this could understand that this was [the Logans’] livelihood. This is also kind of the center of the community.”
Logan said she will implement a number of measures, including hiring a security guard to patrol the area and installing cameras outside of the restaurant. They will also offer a $1,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.