ST. LOUIS, Mo. _”Everybody is welcome here.”
That’s the message several business owners in The Grove neighborhood of south St. Louis want people to know after they arrived to work Tuesday morning (Sept. 19) to find someone had put “Whites Only” stickers on their businesses’ windows and doors along busy Manchester Avenue.
The owner of Layla (4317 Manchester Ave.), Maria Sparks, posted a picture of the sticker to the burger restaurant’s Facebook page with a message calling the act “heartbreaking.” Sparks went on to say “this does not represent out restaurant, our team or our beliefs.”
Fox 2’s partners at the St. Louis Post Dispatch spoke with Qayum Mohammed, owner of Sameem Afghan Restaurant (4341 Manchester Ave.), who called the act “a nasty surprise” and “ignorant.”
Initially, Mohammed wondered if his restaurant was targeted because of his Afghan heritage. He told the Post he was “relieved” to learn a handful of other restaurants had been hit with the sticker as well.
The sticker’s message is confusing to the business owners who say they employ and serve people from a variety of backgrounds.
The seemingly contradictory messages on the sticker is also confusing. In the bottom corner of the sticker is “#BLM” which is commonly used to identify the Black Lives Matter movement.
Both Mohammed and Sparks tell the Post they doubt the sticker is affiliated with Black Lives Matter.
Business owners in the area are reviewing security footage.
As of late Tuesday night, a St. Louis Police spokesperson said they had not been notified of this incident.