Local Businesses Hurt by Shoplifters

One local business, Pura Vida Worldly Art, has taken to social media in an attempt to raise awareness of a growing problem with shoplifting that they have been experiencing. They have been posting pictures and videos of the shoplifters on their Facebook page, so those of us with too much time on our hands can be outraged.

Some readers of NoDa News were sufficiently outraged and got together recently to cash mob Pura Vida to show our neighbors that we care and are listening. The owner of Pura Vida, Teresa Hernández, told us that she found out later that shoplifters had taken advantage of the crowd to shoplift during that event.

Most—if not all—of the stores in our village have cameras and other types of security. Teresa has been using cameras when her inventory system tells her something is missing to go back and see when the item went missing. Another store is installing clothing tags that set off a door alarm. Our neighbors are spending an incredible amount of time and resources to combat this problem.

Why go to all the trouble for small items, you might ask. Because it adds up. I’ve been told one store is losing as much as $2,000 a month. These are all small stores, and that’s a lot! What could a small business do with an extra $2,000 a month? What would you have to give up if you lost $2,000 in a month? What if that was every month?

Pura Vida is an independently owned shop selling a combination of local art as well as clothing and crafts from all over the world. It’s sort of our neighborhood five-and-dime store, the place where everyone can find something.

Their next door neighbor, Ruby’s Gift, sells only local art. Ruby’s does this in direct partnership with the artists, so when people steal from them, they are also stealing directly from the artists. Do you know any rich artists?

Our neighborhood is also home to Sunshine Daydreams, Bartique, Johnny Fly, Custom, and Curio, Craft & Conjure, among others. All of these businesses are locally owned and unique. Our neighborhood is more interesting because they are here. These are the places that keep the neighborhood feeling alive when the restaurants and bars are closed. All of these businesses are dealing not only with rising rents but with the jerks who decide to steal from them.

Even more maddening, these are thefts for sport—for the thrill—not thefts for survival. Mary Digby, manager at Ruby’s Gift, said simply, “We’re not talking about milk and bread.” We’re talking about jerks.

What can we do about this? Be good neighbors. Buy stuff from these stores. Tell the people that work there that you appreciate them being here. Even better, find the store you have only ever walked past, and go in.

…and buying a beer at Bartique during Krampus Krawl doesn’t count as having shopped there, this writer said, chagrining himself.