OAKLAND, Calif. - Loyal customers rallied behind Colonial Donuts Wednesday as a way to show support for the Lakeshore institution after it was robbed last week.
Customers showed up in large numbers in an attempt to buy out all of their sweet inventory to help the family that owns the shop. The buyout was organized by Oakland resident Kevin Koczela.
"A lot of people tell stories about Oakland and the violence and horrible things that are wrong, but there are a lot of people that love Oakland because of the wonderful things that are here," Koczela said. "We met so many wonderful people and there's so much hunger to respond with kindness."
Last Friday, employees at Colonial Donuts were held up at gunpoint just before 1 a.m. Surveillance video showed three people entering the store wearing face masks and hoodies, holding an employee at gunpoint and forcing them to open a cash register.
Shop manager Phing Yamamoto says she's thankful for all the neighborhood support.
"I think it's just a testament to my parents' resilience in the business and how we've been operating for 24 hours for almost close to 40 years, and even with the previous owner," Yamamoto said. "People just depend on us to be open, and we wanted to stay open for the community."
Colonial Donuts is an institution Lakeshore Avenue. The donut shop reopened the day after the robbery, saying customers depend on them to serve the community.
Brenda Ly bought four dozen boxes of donuts and dropped them off for staff at local animal shelters dealing with an influx of animals following Fourth of July fireworks.
"I thanked (Yamamoto) for always having donuts for us when we need one. Donuts always put a smile on our face. When I heard what happened, I was like, why don't we do something for them," Ly said.
Some local residents said they're frustrated with violence in their community, and they want to see more law enforcement protecting the businesses and patrons along Lakeshore Avenue.
The Oakland Police Department is actively investigating the robbery, and Yamamoto is calling on city leaders to address community crime.
As for the investigation, Yamamoto said she hasn’t heard anything from OPD. The case is still active. She said the support they’ve received reaffirms there are many more good people in this world than bad.