SACRAMENTO -- A local business is opening their doors for the first time this month, after becoming the target of a hate crime.
"I was going to be the first customer he was going to be seeing today," customer Liz Esparza said.
Not just for today. In fact, Esparza is the first customer at Supreme Barber Lounge in Sacramento since January 31.
That morning, shop owner Nick Finks found his renovated store destroyed. Vandals broke in overnight. They shattered the glass, stole equipment, slashed the chairs, and spray-painted racial epithets on the walls.
"Emotionally. I'm still dealing with it," Finks said.
Last month, Finks and his barbers were celebrating one year in business.
Opening it was a promise he had made to his father, also a life-long barber, who died two years ago.
"The last conversation I had with him was for me to open my own barbershop, so it was a definitely a dream come true," Finks said.
It was a dream that seemed to be drifting away, after what Sacramento Police called a hate crime.
That was, until the Tahoe community stepped in to help.
Posters with encouraging words left on his broken windows, and more than $5,600 in donations kept Finks' spirits up, and helped him move forward with repairs.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but Tahoe Park. I feel like I picked the right area," Finks smiled.
In the last weeks, he has repainted the walls and cleaned his mirrors.
On Wednesday, the sound of clippers signaled his first day back.
There is still a lot that needs to be done. But many customers say no matter what, they will always be back.
"I'm still going to be here, whether they have broken windows or there is vandalism. That does not define who they are as a person. That just defines that they are still willing to work through all the hard times that they have been put through," Esparza said.
Hard times, Finks says he will overcome.
"Don't let someone else take you out of your element. Fight. If you fall seven times, you have to get up eight. That's how I feel. That's my mindset," Finks said.,
Wednesday was his soft opening.
Finks is planning a large re-grand opening celebration on Saturday.
Starting at 9 a.m., he and his barbers will participate in a cut-a-thon, where they will give haircuts to their community supporters.
Sacramento Police said the hate crime investigation is ongoing. They still have no arrests at this time.