July 14, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Viva La Boba Spearheads Cleanup in San Bernardino Two Days After Shattered Windows and $2K Worth of Stolen Property

4 min read

(Left to right) David Friendman, Cory Chavez, and Tansu Philip picking up trash along the SBX bus stop located in-between The Enterprise Building and Court Street Square.

In a remarkable display of resilience and community spirit, Viva La Boba, a local San Bernardino boba tea shop, rose from the shadows of a disheartening act of vandalism to spearhead a spirited cleanup drive on Tuesday, January 16th. 

The business’ front door and to-go window has since been replaced after being shattered; costing the business owners $2K out of pocket.

This gesture of unity and determination came in response to a break-in suffered just two days prior, transforming a moment of despair into an inspiring example of community solidarity.

Viva La Boba, a staple in the community since its opening in March 2019, faced a devastating setback at 4 AM on Sunday, January 14th. Vandals shattered the establishment’s front door and to-go window, making off with thousands of dollars worth of operational equipment, including a recently acquired iPad integral to its kitchen display system; along with an Ubereats tablet, GrubHub tablet and Amazon Fire tablet. 

Upon receiving news of the break-in from the owner of Red Star Armory, Kevin, a neighborly business owner who walks down the Breezeway to check on all businesses in the alleyway every morning, owners Tansu Philip and David Friedman, who also owns Realicore Real Estate Group, were swift to respond. 

Philip, Chavez, and Friedman proudly standing in front of Viva La Boba after collecting a 13 gallon bag worth of trash in the heart of downtown.  

Philip remarked, “We were here within 30 minutes and still opened at 11 AM that morning. It was our most profitable winter day, we did great for it being a Sunday.” Adaptability has been vital for Viva La Boba in the wake of the vandalism. “We’re doing things more old school now, relying on print ticket orders, which is less efficient,” Philip added. “But, I’ve already ordered replacements for what was stolen and put it on a credit card; and I’ll figure out how to pay it back. The best way to support us right now is to stop by and purchase a drink.”

Despite this blow, they, along with Cory Chavez, a longtime resident of San Bernardino, were undeterred in their commitment to the community.

Instead of succumbing to the setback, Philip, Friedman, and Chavez took to the streets of San Bernardino, focusing their cleanup efforts around the downtown area, including Court Street Square and extending to the SBX Bus Stop across the street from The Enterprise Building. Their endeavor, synchronized with the weekly Tuesday Farmers Market, added a community-focused dimension to their efforts. The cleanup revitalized a vital city area and underscored their dedication to communal engagement.

Friedman, an advocate for a more walkable city, found it fitting to help beautify the bus stop area, aligning with his long-held beliefs in improving urban spaces for pedestrians and transit users. 

Friedman (pictured), also owner of Realicore Real Estate Group is an advocate of elevating local public transit to hoist the walkability in downtown San Bernardino.

Friedman also spoke about the financial impact of the incident. “We paid $1,500 out of pocket to get the glass door and to-go window replaced because our insurance deductible was $2,000.” By the time of the cleanup, the shattered window and door had been replaced, symbolizing the quick response to adversity.

The incident, which KTLA News covered, highlighted the community’s plight and heartening response. In a poignant moment during the cleanup, a community member handed Philip $50 in cash, a gesture symbolizing the local support for Viva La Boba.

Chavez, who participated in the cleanup, shared her motivations, “I saw Viva La Boba’s Facebook post about this cleanup and wanted to help. They do a lot for the community.” Chavez, an admin of the Facebook group ‘I Love San Bernardino’ and former owner of Inland Flowers, also experienced her first boba drink that day.

Despite the challenges, Viva La Boba is not just bouncing back; they are expanding. Philip excitedly mentioned the forthcoming Redlands Viva La Boba, which is set to open in summer 2024. “The Redlands location is coming along great, right across the street from the Trader Joe’s shopping center,” she said.

The act of vandalism, while tragic, has illuminated the strength and unity of the San Bernardino community. It is a testament to the power of kindness and solidarity in turning challenging situations into beacons of hope and light.

Viva La Boba is located at 455 W 4th St., Suite A, San Bernardino.


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