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Monday, December 21, 2009

After robbery, Beggars & Choosers owner decides to close store

Posted by on Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 9:57 AM

By Rebekah Cowell

After 32 years of business, the owner of Beggars & Choosers, Pittsboro's eclectic vintage shop has decided to take a hiatus after an Oct. 24 robbery during the town's Street Fair wiped out the store's jewelry case, cash register and ultimately owner Pam Smith's faith in her customers.

“I've always loved what I do, and right now I don't,” said Smith.

The final day of business is Jan. 2.

The robber took Smith's gold and silver jewelry, priceless cameos, watches, amber and cash. “They had cased the store and they knew right where the valuable items were." Smith did not have insurance on her vintage merchandise, and she doubts she will ever see the stolen jewelry again. “I'm sure they'll melt it down.”

For now, Smith's lack of joy in working the store has diminished to the point of where she doesn't trust her customers.

She needs a break, but at 62, she said she’s not ready to retire and may not close for good.

“I wish I could get a grip,” Smith said. “Part of me says it was just stuff and no one got hurt, but the other part of me doesn't trust anyone, and you can't run a business if you don't love your customers.”

Since announcing the closing over the weekend, Smith has been warmed by the community's response. As one customer mentioned, the downtown Pittsboro community will not be the same without Smith's creative corner window displays and decked-out mannequins.

On Smith's last day of business, Smith will hold a storewide sale with merchandise discounted as much as 50 to 75 percent. “This is our way of giving back to all of you who have made our lives rich in love and laughter,” wrote Smith in her store closing announcement.

“I know it was just stuff, but my faith was robbed and until I can work through that, I need to take some time.”

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