Break and enter could force local business to close

·2 min read

The owner of a downtown business in Fort St. John says her shop was the victim of a break and enter two nights ago.

Joy Larstone of Headspace Artefacts says the suspects busted a window and stole several valuable glassware items. While the loss of merchandise is bad enough, Larstone says the bigger issue is replacing the glass, a minimum $3,000 cost.

In a post to social media this week, Larstone says the store has already been scraping by to stay open, "but with this break in it may be our downfall and last nail in our coffin," she wrote.

“There are quite a few things that are taking the headshop industry down - COVID did affect us a little bit, but it’s not the main cause for the downfall,” said Larstone.

Changing government regulations over vapes and the legalization of cannabis have also slowed the demand for items previously only found in headshops, she said.

But Larstone says it’s not just the latest break-in jeopardizing the future of her shop; construction along 100Street has slowed the amount of traffic to the shop, with the neighbourhood feeling unsafe for many business owners along the corridor.

Across the street, Bill’s Fire and Water also suffered a broken window, but nothing was stolen, confirmed the owner.

“We’ve been here for 10 years, and this does happen on and off. This particular time it affects the business a lot more – we were already teetering on the edge,” said Larstone. “The prices of everything have gone up dramatically, glass has gone up so much since the last time we had a break-in.”

“This is going to be way more than three grand – that’s just the price if I want to order window pane,” she added.

Larstone said they’ll be handing over security footage to the RCMP to help the investigation, and suspects it was youth who broke into her shop.

Fort St. John RCMP say the investigation into the break-in remains ongoing, with forensic work already underway.

Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.

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Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News

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