SAN FRANCISCO - A Black-owned bakery in San Francisco was dealt a huge blow when it was burglarized Tuesday morning. Despite the setback, the owner has demonstrated resilience and a commitment to his community.
Azikiwee Anderson, the founder of Rize Up Bakery, recounted that his lead baker had arrived at work around 4 a.m. and immediately noticed that things were out of place.
"The garage door was just all the way open," said Anderson. "When he got upstairs, it was just like, you know, computer gone, computer gone, computer gone, things open and thrown around. He knew that things were wrong."
When Anderson arrived at the bakery, located at 1160 Howard Street, he realized the full extent of the burglary.
Police are investigating, but Anderson said officers would not collect fingerprints at the scene.
Fortunately, no one was present during the incident, and while electronics and cash were stolen, he didn't feel like the world was caving in on him.
However, the situation took another turn when his food safety specialist delivered another blow—any unsealed food had to be discarded.
"So now you're talking about three days of dough, thousands of dollars worth of things that are supposed to be going to customers," Anderson explained. " A lot of people count on us and we got to deliver. So that was the part that kind of pushed me a little bit over the edge."
Nevertheless, Anderson has been heartened by the support of his community.
"The community that we've been trying to stand behind for the last three years is really showing up for us and it's making it tolerable," he expressed.
The burglary was not captured on video, as Anderson couldn't afford security cameras for his business. However, he is reconsidering this decision in the wake of the break-in.
Among the setbacks he encountered after the incident, the most significant was the loss of food.
"When I was a kid, you know, we were homeless and we didn't have no food. So the idea of throwing away hundreds of loaves, I think this is the biggest loss we've ever had in the whole time that we've been in business," he shared.
He painted a big picture of the overall losses, noting that around $12,000 in electronics and cash were stolen.
"When you start getting into the labor, the time, the multiple days it took to create all the dough, to throw it all away, to have people make all the ingredients and make all the dough again, and pay overtime. I think we're probably creeping up into $25,000 to $30,000," Anderson explained.
Rize Up Bakery was born out of Anderson's need to cope with the isolation of the pandemic and the social unrest following the killing of George Floyd. It allowed him to channel his anger and frustration into something positive.
Even in the face of a costly setback, Anderson continues to see the best in humanity.
"That's the only real reason I think I haven't burst into tears. I've been fighting it back all day," he said. "I've had people reach out from all, all over the place telling me that we mean so much to them and that they want us to know, they got our back."
He added, "The world is a beautiful place. You just got to care about people."
Community members have started donating to help Rize Up Bakery recover its losses. Anderson emphasized that all donations will be directed toward covering labor costs and ingredient expenses for replacing orders and the stolen electronics.
"At the end of the day, you know, buying bread and enjoying bread and telling your friends about us, that's that'll kind of help us in the long run" he said.
If you wish to donate to Rize Up Bakery, you can do so by clicking here.