Gourmonade in San Francisco serves high-end local and organically sourced lemonade. Located at 899 Valencia St., its slogan is “Reinventing Lemonade.” The business’ Instagram says that it’s the “Home of the “$8.00 lemonade?!?!?!”
The owner is Viktor Stevenson. And as he was opening his store on Thursday, July 19, he had an unwelcome surprise. Four San Francisco Police Department officers showed up, one with a hand on his gun, and asked Viktor, “Can you prove that this is your business?” according to SF Gate.
In an interview with AJ+, Viktor described that the incident took place on the third day after his grand opening. He also added that even before he opened the store, people were leaving racist graffiti on the side of his store. He explained the series of events.
“I’m standing here at my store, trying to make sure my security system is up and running properly. And next thing I know, four cops hop out of cars on me. And come to find out, somebody in the neighborhood called and said that I was breaking into my own business.”
And as the cops approached, they wanted to see his hands which were in his pockets at the time, reported NBC Bay Area.
“The cops approached me, and I say to them, he is about three feet away, I say, ‘oh, did the security system go off? If it did, my apologies, I am on the phone with the company now.’ They go to say, ‘no,’ [accusing me that] you are breaking into the store.”
To prove that he owned the business, Viktor said that he took the store key, opened the door and then closed it. The business owner was also savvy enough to take some footage of the police showing up, which is now making the rounds on social media.
This is what it's like for a black business owner in a gentrifying SF neighborhood: Racist graffiti and calls to the police for unlocking your own store. pic.twitter.com/F9lVsIaKM7
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 20, 2018
And it didn’t just end with Viktor showing the police officers that he had the keys to the store.
“Took my key out, opened my door, closed my door. ‘Are we ok? Are we good to go?’ He said, ‘no, can I see your ID?'”
In the aftermath of the incident, Viktor is still trying to wrap his mind around what happened. He says that it reminded him of the realities of being a Black entrepreneur. And for his wife Santhia, it creates worries for her about whether he’ll be safe while he’s working.
Viktor hopes to inspire change in policies by meeting with City Hall members and will be speaking with Mayor London Breed.