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Black-owned coffee shop in Washington rebounds with help from community after arson

Black Coffee Northwest had cars around the block for their opening. The coffee shop was damaged by an arsonist last month and the FBI is now investigating.

SHORELINE, Wash. — Black Coffee Northwest in Shoreline was set to open earlier this month but had to postpone after they were hit by an arsonist. On Saturday, the news of their soft opening had spread and lines of cars stretched around the block. 

“As crazy as the world is right now this is just a breath of fresh air,” said Erwin Weary, the co-owner of the Black-owned coffee shop.

It was a welcome sight for Weary and his family, especially given how much they've had to overcome. 

In a region where coffee shops are everywhere, Weary said this one is going to be different by being a Black-owned business that doesn't steer a conversation away from race, but instead encourages it. 

“That’s what the goal was, to really bring the community together and introduce people to a different culture and really introduce people to a different side of business,” Weary said.

Just before their grand opening in late September, someone smashed a window and tried to catch the building on fire with a Molotov cocktail. 

“It wasn’t like a note on the door, they were really trying to do some major damage,” said Weary, when KING 5 first interviewed him.

“As a black teen it’s tough because you want to be a teenager, but sometimes you can't just be a teenager,” said 17-year-old Mikayla Weary.

“Just seeing this place today, it really gets me pumped and excited to have this place be a community hub and serve,” she continued.

The FBI is now assisting with the investigation. Investigators said there is surveillance video but haven't released it to the public. So far, no arrests have been made.  

“I don’t think that what happened to the building is going to effect what we’re doing now. It makes it better. We got to fight harder and send a message that hate won’t be tolerated,” said Erwin Weary.

The damage to the building was quickly fixed and the impact they hope to make on the community is just getting started.

RELATED: 'The message is clear': Shoreline coffee shop owners believe Molotov cocktail attack was racially motivated