Community members showed their support for Baguette et Chocolat Saturday after the Bee Caves business was slammed on social media.
A wave of negative reviews flooded their Facebook page when a customer was told to leave for bringing a gun inside the bakery. The bakery's owners said this violated their gun policy, which is posted on a sign on their front door.
"They are allowed to say what they want or don't want in their establishment,” long-time customer Tamara Crooks said.
Owners said the customer who was asked to leave is the same person who had complained a year before when he asked the bakery to take their signs down but they refused. He didn't come back until last week.
“He came in obviously carrying a gun through his t-shirt, which scared everybody,” business supporter Sheri Soltes said
Staff said they called 311 for advice on how to handle the situation, and 311 contacted police.
The customer, a gun rights advocate, then wrote about his experience on his blog, saying he forgot he had his gun on him, and the article set off an online battle.
“The first amendment is what we can say -- what we want to say -- and social media has made that easy to do and sometimes that allows people to say things without backing it up,” customer Matthew Mcehlaney said.
"It's the law, if they post the signs that's what they can choose to do.”
And although Baguette et Chocolat’s Facebook page was shut down due to the high volume of negative comments, people are leaving comments on an unofficial page of the business.
Soltes, who is also running for Texas House Representative in District 47, is standing up to bullying. That’s why she created an all-day event at the business to gain awareness by leaving notes of encouragement to the owners.
“We're standing up to bullies and we are eating [at the bakery] to show our support,” she said.
KVUE has reached out to the customer who wrote the blog but have not heard back before Saturday evening.
Baguette et Chocolat staff did not want to go on camera or allow KVUE cameras inside the bakery, but did confirm that they posted the following statement to their Facebook page before shutting it down:
"VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE PLEASE READ
Due to a recent gun incident with one fellow at our store, we’re extremely sad and shocked to announce you that we will shut down our Facebook page in the next days.
This fellow, who is a pro gun, wrote an article on Saturday 16th of September, on a pro gun social network, relating his version about what happened in our store.
Here is our version :
This fellow was upset, a year and a half ago, when we put on the doors the LAW sign prohibiting carrying gun in our establishment. He talked to my wife and said that if we didn’t put those signs down, he would not come back. We didn’t take those signs out.
Recently, he chose to come back. We saw his gun underneath is t shirt. My employees and myself didn’t know what to do so, we decided to call 311. We were trying to know what can we tell this fellow, who knows that we don’t legally allow guns in our bakery, but still comes inside with his gun. 311 decided to send police officers. We were not aware of it until the police officers showed up.
Those police officers dealt with him telling him that regarding the LAW, we don’t allow guns in our store. He pretended he didn’t see the signs on the door. Apparently, he just had a warning and left the store.
On Saturday 16th of September, we started receiving a couple of 1 star review without comment. I started to see with my employees to know if something went wrong that day because we’re not used to bad review much. If we can fix a mistake, we will.
Later this day we received much more 1 star reviews, some with comments regarding guns and insulting emails. Everything went clear. This article was spreading.
All Baguette et Chocolate’s team is shocked and very sad. Like April, my head baker who has been working very hard with us for more than 6 years and told us “you don’t deserve this !”. We’ve been building very hard this true Authentic French family business for almost 8 years now.
In just a couple of days, those people who most of them never came to our store, try, as they say, to destroy our business. Telling us that as “migrant” we have to go back to our country. That we don’t have our place here in the USA or in Texas. That we don’t respect people. That we treat them like criminals (but we just talk about the gun not the person who carry it). That they expect us to be robbed at our house or at our business. And much worse even threats…….
Yes, we’re migrant Alien who left our country for America to live our dream of sharing our passion for French food. We wanted to live our American dream. We’re known for respecting our savoir faire, authenticity and quality. Yes, our down side is the customer service sometimes, we know it and we do our best to fix it but we’re just a tiny bakery NOT a formal restaurant, very popular with only 30 people allowance (employees included) so it’s hard sometimes to handle everything. Our team does his best and works hard to satisfy your needs.
We’re working very hard to make it right, to make our patrons happy to stop by and have a piece of France right around the corner, trying to make you having a good time.
Yes, we put those LAW signs on the doors. Yes, we don’t want guns inside the bakery as we’re small place and can be packed with children around as they have their own spot. We WELCOME EVERYONE and always do, but just unarmed. Our concern is NOT the person but the gun.
I thought we had the freedom in our own building, like HEB or WHOLE FOOD, to legally do what we think is best. Apparently not.
Our time is precious, we don’t have much time to spend on the social network as we focus on our job to satisfy our patrons who really believe in what we’re here for. We can not deal with those fellows. We let them express their anger on the other reviews network.
Our Facebook page was supposed to be our own….not anymore. The rating we’ve been working on has been declining drastically by those bad reviews and it will keep going.
We don’t have any hands on it. Facebook can not help us.
WE WANT TO THANK VERY TRULY FROM THE DEEP OF OUR HEART ALL THE LIKERS, LOVERS WHO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING OUR BUSINESS FOR ALMOST 8 YEARS NOW ON FACEBOOK.
WE ARE VERY SORRY ABOUT IT AND ASK YOU TO EXCUSE US FOR ALL THE INCONVENIENCE IT MAY OCCUR.
WE ARE AND WE WILL BE STILL DOING OUR JOB WE’RE KNOWN FOR TO SATISFY OUR PATRONS.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT.
Anne-lise & Chi minh PHAM DINH
Baguette et Chocolat’s owners”
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