The Robbery at Red Zinnia

I suggest you stop reading for a moment - and get yourself a cup of tea, a soda, or a bourbon and water…..whatever your choice may be. This may take awhile to read. A week ago last Thursday we were robbed at Red Zinnia. Now, this is a small town, and I realize many of you may already know about this, but what you may not have heard is that last Sunday, we were robbed again. Of course we took major security measures after the first break in, and this is what thankfully saved us from losing a major amount of merchandise again. But it didn’t catch the thief. We got to go through the task of once again installing new glass and doors, new key locks, heavier security measures with the police and a few more sleepless nights.

Here is my main reason for writing about this now. We live in a small town, relative to other communities that surround us. The demographics of our town are probably pretty much the same as most others though, but what I have always loved about our little “oasis in the desert” is the fact that we watch out for each other. We stop to say hello and pass the time of day when we meet in the supermarket. We cheer for each other’s kids like they are our own, and we always seem to have the time to help those in need. We set up kitchens to feed those less fortunate, we bake cookies and take them to the elderly shut-ins, and we support our local shopkeepers whenever possible. This… why this has hit so hard. Not only have we had the monumental task of re-constructing our loss on paper, filling out the necessary insurance forms, and re-ordering merchandise so it arrives in a timely manner for the upcoming holiday season, but we have also had to deal with the horror stories we have heard from other shopkeepers in our community. I won’t name names here, but this is what I will say. We are not alone.

Over the last 3 months there has apparently been a rash of robberies in and around the city center where Red Zinnia is located. I didn’t know about them before this, and it makes me wonder why. The paper has not reported this information, and other than the fact that we (all of us at Red Zinnia & the Flower Tree) have been trying our best to get the word out to our fellow shopkeepers, I don’t know if we ever would have heard about it. What I am hearing though, is that we are not alone – but this is one time that I would rather be as lonely as if I were stranded on a desert island, than know that my friends and co-entrepreneurs where going through the same thing. Fortunate for us , we have not been hurt, physically. But it is unfortunate to say that that is not the case for all of the shopkeepers that we have spoken with.

What I really want to say by all this is, Be Careful. Do not take it for granted, as we did, that someone else is watching out for your business as much as you are. Be extra vigilant in your safety procedures, and this is even more important at home, as your loved ones are involved. Yes, I have started locking my car, my doors now have a secretly system in place, and my life will be forever changed by this. I know that many, many of you have faced this same situation in your home life, or business life – because you have shared your stories with us over the last two weeks. Small town USA just doesn’t seem to be the same place it was two weeks ago, and for that, I for one, am truly very saddened.

I am looking out the window at the beautiful fall colors and the clouds are fluffy and white. Whoever you are, you may have taken our money and goods, but you won’t break our spirit. We will continue to be the ones that greet you with a smile and share a story from our day. The last two weeks have taught me a lot about the world I live in. Not all of it good, as you read above, but much of it has been. The thoughtfulness of others as they heard about what happened and called to make sure we were alright, the amazing women that I am surrounded by on a daily basis, the true flowers of my world, that pulled together to make sure that we were not only back open the same day – both times – but worked hard to keep each others spirits up when needed. I can’t ever thank you enough for not only caring about me, but also about this business as much as I do. My husband, Robert, the absolute rock in my life, that has made it his goal to keep me on an even keel these last two weeks. The gentle encouragement, prayers and concerns from you, our customers and friends – that is what really matters. We are a small town, but we have huge hearts. Please, please continue to watch out for each other.