INDIANAPOLIS – The owners of a gaming lounge in Irvington say they are being harassed and targeted because of their race.
“It says – Close Shop! We don’t support black business owners!” Lvl Up owner Sami Ali told WXIN.
Ali says the anonymous note was delivered to his business on East Washington Street on Saturday after they held a gaming event. Ali says he called the police this week.
“I made a police report to document that people are doing hate crimes towards our business. Thank god it was just a note. No broken windows or anything,” said Ali.
Ali, who grew up on the east side says he is spending thousands of dollars on the gaming lounge in the Irvington area, making an investment in the neighborhood.
“A place to come in and meet people face to face and then the adults can sit there and enjoy a glass of wine,” said Ali.
Ali says he thought he and his business partner would be welcomed, not asked to leave because of their race.
“It bothers me that people still think that way but it is not going to stop me from doing what I want to do,” said Ali.
Ali says the note doesn’t represent the support and love he has received from other Irvington businesses, which are disappointed and upset.
“Honestly, I was shocked. It sounds like something out of the 1960s,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe owns the coffee shop across the street and says Irvington is ready to see Lvl Up’s doors open soon.
“It is difficult enough to get people to come in and now for people to behave this way…that is just ridiculous,” said Wolfe
After the message, Lvl Up says they are ready to open even sooner.
“We got your note but we are not going to back down. We are going to push forward and maybe open up sooner,” said Ali.
The owners tell WXIN they plan to install security cameras. The lounge is set to open in September.