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The Workman Family owned an Ace Hardware. (Facebook)

Vagrants, Thieves and Unsanitary Conditions Force Another Family Business To Close

Local and national chain stores have called it quits and left the community

By Michelle Mears, December 29, 2019 6:05 am

The trash they left behind, the needles, urination, and feces, kicking in my windows, all added to the difficulty of owning a business.”


Another California business is closing its doors due to out of control regulations, homeless thieves, and trash.

An Ace Hardware store in the city of Riverside is shuttering, and its owners left a heartfelt message on their Facebook page and on their front door for all of their customers to read.

The store, known for good customer service, community service, and support of the military, had a 4.5-star Yelp rating. However, the owners felt like they were playing wack-o-mole with the anti-business environment plaguing the city, county, and entire state.

Ted and Pam Workman owned the shop on La Sierra Ave. It was their dream to build a chain of small hardware stores and leave a legacy for their children Garret and Cassie.

Ted wrote, “At the same time, had I passed away, Pam and the kids would have had a steady business to rely on.  Sometimes not all dreams come true, and when they don’t, it is very sad.”

Earlier this year, national chain restaurant Roadhouse Grill also closed on La Sierra Avenue. They posted a letter citing reasons similar reasons for the closure, including vagrants, homeless loiterers, and crime. The Roadhouse restaurant operated at this location for 20 years.

Staples and Sport Chalet, also national chain stores, called it quits and left the community.

Ted said he never felt it was safe for his family members to stay at the store alone and it was impossible for him to be at the store every day, all day.

“Theft was a big issue, I am sure bigger than we know, or will ever know now. Unlike bigger stores, theft protection was us confronting the thief.  We installed magnetic safety locks on many of the products, which made it more difficult for our honest customers to shop at the store.  The thieves brought their own magnets to unlock them, or tore them off the product,” said Ted. “Due to the newer California laws, whether they got caught or not, the consequences were minimal, a slap on the wrist.  We have many outstanding reports we have never heard back on, nor probably ever will.”

“Homeless, vagrants, transients, whatever they are, we’re just another nail in the coffin.”

A federally mandated homeless count in January 2019, showed an increase in unsheltered homeless people in the city of Riverside from 184 in 2018 to 238 in 2019, according to a report released in April by the county Department of Public Social Services. The number of homeless in the county of Riverside grew 21-percent in the past year.

The Workmans admit they were new business owners and to an extent, they blame themselves for not having enough business experience. However, the neighborhood was becoming increasingly unsafe and that drove their customers away.

“I tried very hard to clean up around the store as best as I could, but more (homeless) just kept showing up. I stopped allowing them in the store, and got a bad rap,” said Ted. “ We were 1000% Ace Helpful and got blamed for not allowing them to shop.  Turn your back and there went another pair of gloves, a lighter, batteries, you name it. The trash they left behind daily, the needles, the urination and feces, kicking in my windows for no apparent reason, blocking my back entrance, being topless around the store, and much more, all added to the difficulty of owning a business. The police tried to help, the shopping center tried as well, but there is no solution.”

In August, California Globe reported on Sacramento salon owner Elizabeth Novak made national news when she posted an irate video addressing California Governor Gavin Newsom over the state’s homeless crisis.

Novak who owned her salon for 15-years said in her video, “I just want to tell you what happens when I get to work. I have to clean poop and pee off of my doorstep. I have to clean-up the syringes. I have to politely ask the people who I care for, I care for these people that are homeless, to move their tents of the way of the door to my business. I have to fight off people who push their way into my shop who are homeless and on drugs because you won’t arrest them for drug offenses. I have to apologize to my clients as to why they can’t get into my door because there’s someone asleep there and they are not getting the help they need.”

Ted wrote in his letter, “We do not consider ourselves a failure but when you are mistreated or stolen from, you take it personally, and I may have lost my cool a few times, for that I am sorry.  We all learned so much with regards to our products, running a business, people skills, etc.  we are better for doing this in many ways.”

I could easily write a book about our experiences. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at workmansace@gmail.com.”

Novak ended her video by telling Governor Newsom, “You want to make us a sanctuary state, you want to make it comfortable for everybody except for the people that work hard and have tried their hardest to get along in life,” Novak said. “Your liberal ideology isn’t working.”  

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26 thoughts on “Vagrants, Thieves and Unsanitary Conditions Force Another Family Business To Close

  1. Between the homeless situation and the illegal aliens it’s time to move out of California, although I was born and raised in California. Besides all that, California ranks #8 as a high tax state . Misdemeanor Citations for stealing items that don’t exceed $950 in value will accelerate the theft going on everyday make living here intolerable.

    1. Bye bye if you think moving away will solve the HOMELESS problem. Our COUNTRY is facing a Homeless CRISIS, not just California. Honest hardworking people are sleeping in their cars, or tents in the streets because they no longer make enough money to cover housing for their family in our country! Not every homeless person is a drug addict.

        1. Bob Meyers You are the problem. Sticking your head in the sand ignoring what is happening in America. California is the canary in the coal mine. Several states are heading there. It is NOT due to people living in California !! It is the politicians and the Leftists who depend on the Government.

      1. Stella, o obviously you haven’t traveled much. After spending over 40 yrs of my life in CA I finally moved. For 3 months now I call the greater Charlotte area home and we have no problems with homelessness. In fact my lakefront home is 1/3 the price of of something comparable in CA would be. Sales tax is more than 25% less. Property taxes are half of CA.

        The price of gas is 60% of what I paid in California and surprise the roads are better. Jobs are plentiful and recreational activities are endless.

        Schools are head and shoulder above the train wreck that CA faces. I have yes to have to step over a homeless person, dodge urine of feces and truly feel safe at all hours.

        California has descended into a third world dump. 7the largest economy and highest poverty rate. Sad.

  2. Isn’t it time for Californians to fight for their state? This is an epidemic that will spread across the country if something isn’t done NOW.

    1. Mark,

      We do fight but the corruption, ballot harvesting and illegals make us irrelevant. I’m out when my kid graduates in 2021. Do you have another solution? I no longer feel safe in my own state and the idiots are running the insane asylum.

    2. Mark,
      We do fight but the corruption, ballot harvesting and illegals make us irrelevant. I’m out when my kid graduates in 2021. Do you have another solution? I no longer feel safe in my own state as the lunatics are running the insane asylum.

    3. It IS time to fight! This is a beautiful state that used to be great. Democratic rule has ruined it at every level. They are anti-business, anti-citizen, and pro insanity. Things didn’t used to be this way. Since the Democrats have dominated the political leadership things have gone to hell. This is not a coincidence. It’s happening in every urban community ruled by Democrats. Vote Republican in 2020 for a change. You have nothing to lose.

  3. Why are we not recalling pretty-boy Newsom?

    He & his hack AG are just biding time & playing the media circus cards to set up their future political ambitions….

    They are FAILING the average citizen & we’re mad as hell….

  4. California residents – you keep voting Democrat. You get what you deserve! Stop voting in the Democrat lie! Start using your rational brain and not your feeling. Especially since the heart tag was lied to you.

  5. I also work in retail in Riverside. It’s out of control. We can’t stop them or we’re being mean. But many of them treat us so badly and yet that’s okay. Most of them choose that lifestyle because of drugs and/or no responsibilities. The ones that want help seek it and get it. But thousands don’t want it and don’t care. They’ve got nothing to lose, jail means food and shelter, but they have to steal $1,000 or more to be arrested so they just get violent instead. Many are mentally disabled. It’s sad but at the same time extremely unsafe for customers and employees. And the city, county and especially the state couldn’t care less.

  6. Only 238 homeless in Riverside? And you’re complaining? Try Chico, California. We’ve got about 1100 or more homeless here.

  7. I live in Tn. a red state – I visited San Fran this summer and drove the coastal Hwy to Seattle . The homeless were everywhere we looked – panhandlers that were half my age – every bus stop was a bathroom- Seattle we saw a vagrant hit by a car no big deal they exchanged view points and went their separate ways -tent cities are real- we skipped going to Portland because of its political ideology – wow – I believe more and more visitors will skip these cities because of these situation .

  8. I knew and worked with Ted before I retired and he opened this hardware store. He and his family are great people and I am sure they put all possible effort into this store. I am not a California native but did work there for several years before I retired and moved back to the farm in the mid-west. I saw lots of the drug use, homeless people and unsanitary conditions on the street when I lived there. I feel for them but this article illustrates the impact of lawlessness on local businesses and neighborhoods. Anyway, I wish Ted and his family all the best in whatever is next. Really great people that deserved better.

  9. Hello!!!
    These are criminals, drug addicts and thieves ..
    They may need help but they don’t want to help them selves.. I work in the area and I deal with this ..
    They can throw bottles at you threatened you ,do drugs in the restroom, throw trash around urinate. leave needles … Its a mess!!!

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