Community isn't spinning its wheels

Its window has been replaced, but the community is not ready to stop giving.

There is a new pane of glass at Easyrider, where rioters broke into the store and stole a bike from the display during the July 28 melee after the U.S. Open of Surfing.

But shop owner Jason Hilbert said he is still getting donations from individuals and local businesses and, instead of pocketing the money, he is looking for ways to give it back.

"The public and the locals defended our store when the police weren't able to," Hilbert, 39, said. "We're truly humbled and overwhelmed with the support of the local businesses and local residents that were coming in and donating money for our window. Even though we told them no, they wouldn't take no for an answer."

Now, Hilbert is collecting the money for a charity he plans to start to benefit the downtown community; he hasn't yet specified a cause.

"We need to pay it forward to the community," he said. "Since the community was there for us, now it's our turn to be there for the community."

In addition to the donations, Easyrider, which is located at 328 Main St., is hoping to build the fund by selling $20 T-shirts that read, "Defend Huntington Beach" and "Riot Proof."

Portions of those sales will go to toward the charity fund, Hilbert said.

One of the first donations Hilbert found was a white envelope with five $20 bills someone had slipped into his store the Monday morning after the disturbance in downtown Huntington Beach.

"To Easyrider: $100" was written on the upper half of the envelope, below it "from Danny & Kyle, Belmont Shore."

"We still haven't had any luck tracking them down," Hilbert said. "Hopefully, we do, but if not it'll go in the fund."

He estimates about $3,000 has been collected so far.

Johnny Kresimir, owner of Johnny's Saloon on Beach Boulevard and co-owner of Gallagher's Pub in downtown Huntington Beach, donated $1,000 for the stolen bicycle and damages to the store.

Hilbert is looking to collect about $5,000 as he sell more T-shirts.

Tiffani Randolph, 21, who works at Makin Waves Salon a few doors down from Easyrider, said she isn't surprised that the guys from the bicycle store would be so willing to help the community.

"Last week, I had my chain fall off of my bike, so I went over and they took my bike," she said. "They fixed my chain, they pumped up my tires, and they brought my bike back and didn't charge. They're that kind of business. They're lax, and we're all friends. It's unfortunate that that happened to them, but I think it was the right business for it to happen to because they took it and made something cool out of it."

And it isn't just the locals who are supporting Easyrider. Huntington Beach resident Ed Krajewski brought his sister, Julie, and her family from Chicago to the store after he had told them about what happened during the disturbance.

He had bought a T-shirt for his nephew, Walter, a few days ago, and they returned to the store Tuesday to buy another for his niece before his sister's family flew back to Chicago.

"I thought they were cool, and I liked the fact that the community stood up for the store during the chaos," Julie said.

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