Tuesday, 5 March 2013


It's not exactly the emotion I want to be feeling as I walk up to my shop and find that the windows haven't been smashed. In fact, I'd rather not be feeling anything at all or even noticing them but at the moment as I walk up from the bus station I'm frustrated by the bus stop outside of our shop because it hides the window from my view until I'm a few doors away.

For those of you who don't follow the facebook and twitter, we were broken into sometime on Saturday night or Sunday morning. They got away with the float (£100) and smashed two panes of glass from the window above the door. June found it as she popped round on Sunday evening to drop some bits off for a customer. I can't imagine how she felt. She rang me and then the police and we all rushed around to do what we could. Two of June's friends boarded up the window and the screws that they used were far too long for the job so we ended up with a medieval looking fortress style board. I sorted out a glazier yesterday to redo the windows and because he felt sorry for me he gave me some sort of upgrade on the glass so that it should be a bit stronger. Everybody's been so kind to us and the shop and I'm really grateful. As far as break-ins go, it's not been that bad but it would have been 20 times worse had everybody not rallied round to help and offer support. So thanks. 

Thing is, I had a customer in yesterday, a lovely clever man who bought another independent shop in the city a few months ago. I'll not mention any names because he's taken the decision not to tell his customers that he's taken over just in case it doesn't go well. I understand, sometimes you have to keep things to yourself for self protection. We had a good chat about it and I did what I could to encourage him to shout about it, to have a party, to introduce loyalty cards and write press releases because people really do want independent businesses to succeed. The support of customers, their families and friends, passers-by, people of Mansfield Road and the other business owners is really overwhelming. 

It's bloody hard work running this business (as it would be any other - we're no special case). Yesterday I started work at 8 o'clock googling for numbers of glaziers and ringing insurance companies. I wrote my last e-mail at 10.11pm and after that I cashed up, tidied up and headed home. That's more than a 14 hour day. I can't believe that any human being who knew what I do on a daily basis and how hard I work would have it in them to steal a £100 from me. I can't believe it and I won't. 

But I also can't be angry. I'm frustrated and upset but not angry. The two panes of glass that he smashed amount to about 8" of space. Eight inches! Whoever got through there is either a child or a crack addict. There are no two ways about it. And I can't bring myself to be angry with somebody like that.

I want to bring them here and show them the value of hard work. I want to show them how hard it is to be always smiling, to remember everybody's stories, what they like, what they don't like, what they can't stand, to constantly be scanning the internet and books for more knowledge, to figure out which transaction is wrong when you're £2.50 out on a day when you've taken more than £300, to deal with people who are absolutely positive that they bought that Rowan yarn here and they won't have it any other way and they'd like to see the stock room please because they know that it's here. Jeez. Why on earth do I do it? Because of the customers that came yesterday to bring me wine and the cake this morning, and the customers that retweeted our appeal to find out more, and the ones that swore with us on facebook, and the customer that gave me a £10 tip this morning as well as spending £30 to put towards the damage, to meet all of the nearly 30 customers who have booked onto the Yarndale trip because they know it's worth travelling half way across the country for one day to feel part of a community and the friends and family who rallied round for us on Sunday evening in the cold, and the man who donated metal bars so that we could secure the newly fixed window.

It's all been noted and appreciated and I'm going to remember these feelings when I'm out on my fag break and scanning the street asking myself if it was him or her or them. We'll almost certainly never know who it was - we have our suspicions but really, who actually gets caught nowadays? All we know for sure is how loved we are as a tiny little business, how supportive everybody has been and, on a personal level, how efficient I felt when the window was fixed by half 11 the day after we found out! 

So that's that folks. That's the full story. It hasn't killed us and it won't change us. We'll see you soon. 

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxx

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