DEVASTATED shop owners have vowed they won’t be beaten after thieves barged into their store and made off with £4000 worth of stock.
Lilies and Dreams, in St Stephen Street, was ransacked on Friday night – with shoes, handbags and sunglasses all being swiped from the shelves.
Now JoJo Hernandez and Ricky Phillips have posted a letter on the shop door hitting out at the “burgling b*******”.
The couple, who were celebrating their seventh anniversary that night, discovered they’d been raided when they arrived to open up on Saturday morning.
Mrs Hernandez said it looked like the thieves had used a crowbar on the door and then “barraged” their way into the shop, which only opened three months ago.
“I felt physically sick and heartbroken when I walked in because there was mess everywhere and they have been rummaging around,” she said.
“It’s horrific – I go between feeling really angry and literally wanting to burst into tears.
“We work really hard, but it feels like all our hard work is being thrown back at us.”
They have adopted a fighting spirit in the letter, vowing that the thieves won’t get the better of them, despite admitting they had considered closing the business permanently.
And they warned that the raid will affect donations to charities, with the Sick Kids Friends Foundation and St Columba’s Hospice both supported by the store.
The letter reads: “But we will never, even in the poorest of times, sink to your level. We, our customers, and our communities are better, stronger and braver than you.
“And we will come back better too. We will not allow you to turn us into you.”
Mr Phillips said he didn’t want to leave customers confused after deciding to shut for a month, so penned the letter “as an absolute protest”.
He said: “It annoys me that these people target small businesses, who for a large part are hand-to-mouth businesses, and they could close us down.
“I don’t want to be sat there every night wishing I was in my shop – I cannot live like that. We end up acting like victims and I don’t want to do that. We have given our last penny to charity on numerous occasions, but now this might mean that we cannot support the Sick Kids Foundation or other charities.”
Mrs Hernandez, who is also chair of the Stockbridge Traders Association, said there had been a spate of burglaries in the area.
“This is not about us trying to get our stuff back – it’s about the impact on a small local community,” she added.
A police spokesman said the incident happened between 8.30pm on Friday and 10.45am on Saturday and appealed for anyone with information to contact them.
Dear Burgling B******s,
We at Lilies and Dreams would like to take the time to reply to your robbing our boutique in the wee small hours of Saturday 23rd August.
You see, we are a small business. We have good days and bad. We are not rich people.
As you see, we have taken away everything which you did not steal. Had you stolen much more, we may have been forced to close. This is the damage you do not see.
It isn’t just a few handbags or pairs of shoes. It isn’t even the cost to us personally, although a much needed summer holiday has gone.
What you do not see, are the dozens of charities we support. Even in the toughest of times (you even stole our latest charity donation of the local hospice!).
You don’t see the effect to small business owner’s lives, to the charities and to this fantastic community of people which we support here in Stockbridge.
But we will never, even in the poorest of times, sink to your level. We, our customers, and our communities are better, stronger and braver than you.
And we will come back better too. We will
not allow you to
turn us into you.