“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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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