(WM) LGBT-owned shop Tizmal’s Treats was defaced earlier this month with homophobic graffiti.
Though the graffiti is partly unintelligible and riddled with misspellings, it is clear that homophobic slurs were spray-painted on the business’ window and front door.
Tizmal’s Treats is a small chocolate shop that also sells ice cream, handmade sandwiches, candles and gifts. The shop is owned by married couple Shawn Tizmal and Rob Donnelly, who have now closed the shop completely with plans to relocate.
Donnelly says they caught the incident on their security cameras, showing a man wearing a sweatshirt and a ski mask spray painting the shopfront. Palm Bay police are currently investigating the crime, but have not named any suspects yet.
“It was a cowardly way to try to intimidate me,” Tizmal says. “I was angry then and I’m still angry now.”
Though there was support directed at Tizmal’s Treats on social media after the vandalism, Donnelly says there was not enough support from the Brevard County LGBTQ community as well as a lack of action from their landlord.
“[The landlord’s] first reaction to finding out about the spray-painting was ‘hurry up and clean it before anyone sees that,'” Tizmal says. “We were punished for calling the police when we were just trying to defend ourselves.”
Donnelly took to Facebook to express his frustration.
“Since we’ve opened this business, we’ve tried to be part of this community and be supportive of other LGBT organizations,” Donnelly says. “Besides maybe one or two people, I never really saw any effort to help us as small business owners in the LGBT community.”
Tizmal and Donnelly say they are trying to recover financially at the moment and are not sure where they will be relocating yet. They plan to reopen once they have raised enough money.