Thursday night in the Mission, a trio of stores under the Local Mission brand became the target of protests that later devolved into threatening vandalism.
The protests stemmed from allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment at Local Mission Eatery and Local's Corner — both owned by Yaron Milgrom along with Local Cellar and Mission Local Market — and were organized by the San Francisco branch of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). According to a post on ACCE's Facebook page, the group was calling for a boycott of Milgrom's stores:
To the naked eye, Local's Corner looks like any other overpriced restaurant that's popped up in the Mission in recent years. But it's even worse. It has denied service--at least twice--to groups of Mission residents of color who tried to order food. Its owner, Yaron Milgrom, owns three other businesses in the neighborhood: Local's Eatery, Local's Market and Local's Cellar. A server at Local's Eatery has filed suit for sexual harassment. Join us as we tell Milgrom to respect civil rights, issue a public apology, and give back to the community through local hire, affirmative action and community benefits agreements.
Milgrom actually responded to the discrimination accusations last month, telling neighborhood blog Mission Local that the alleged denial of service was a misunderstanding in which the customer requested a table for eight, when their small dining room makes that impossible. The customer ended up bringing her group to dinner at the more spacious Local Mission Eatery. Milgrom also pointed to his company's track record of hiring neighborhood residents and Latinos, as well as giving back to local school fundraisers and events.
The ACCE, which says it is “focusing on stopping foreclosures, expanding definitions of education, helping everyone access healthcare, increasing job availability and holding banks and politicians accountable,” was not pleased with Milgrom's response and protestors came out Thursday night to hand out flyers and spread the word about the boycott. The graffiti, which included calls for the store to "Get Lost!" and simply "DIE" appeared some time after the protest, which was co-organized by the Our Mission No Eviction group. It is currently unclear whether the vandalism was done by protestors or opportunistic graffiti artists latching onto a cause.
Milgrom, meanwhile, points out to The Chronicle that, as a renter, he himself could not be responsible for evictions. "I’m a renter as a business owner," Milgrom explained. "I’m a renter as a tenant.”