Ice Cream Heaven, the only black-owned ice cream parlor in Miami Gardens, was burglarized last week.
Co-owner Starex Smith, a local entrepreneur who advocates for and invests in black-owned businesses, says the windows were smashed and the store was ransacked. When the partners arrived early Friday morning, they discovered that the cash register had been stolen, along with all the money inside it.
"We are at a loss for words right now," Smith said when he spoke of the incident during a Facebook Live broadcast not long after the break-in was discovered.
The loquacious entrepreneur behind the food blog The Hungry Black Man had to take moment to process what had taken place.
"Recently, Ice Cream Heaven was victim of a theft and vandalization that many feel was a targeted attack, but was totally restored by the community in which it serves," Smith wrote in a Facebook post a few days later.
Co-owner Felecia Hatcher, who founded Feverish Gourmet Pops in 2008 with her husband Derick Pearson and sold it in 2015, has plenty of on-the-job experience. (Smith and Hatcher have a third partner, Nikki Prince.)
But nothing like this, she tells New Times. "We are heartbroken," Hatcher says. "We are devastated."
As quickly as the burglary took place, however, the community came together, using social media for social good.
Within 24 hours of the break-in, a GoFundMe page created by a customer surpassed the $2,500 goal to replace the broken glass. It topped out at $3,179 by the time it was closed.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"We're not taking any more donations. We are open and fully operational again," Smith shared just 48 hours after the break-in.
Seeing how the community rallied renewed his optimism, Smith added.
"The love we received today from our people today, I have never experienced before. There is a shift in the atmosphere," he shared. "I have been renewed and refreshed from this darkness turned into light."
Ice Cream Heaven. 17560 NW 27th Ave., Miami Gardens; 305-203-9876; facebook.com/icecreamheavenmg. Open daily 1 to 9 p.m.