This is what greeted Okanagan Skate Co. owner-operator Bryce Wach in downtown Vernon Saturday morning, after receiving a call from the RCMP that the store had been broken into. The fourth break-in at the store in four years at a couple of locations has Wach pondering his future in downtown Vernon. (Facebook - photo)

Vernon board company victim of smash-and-grab

Okanagan Skate Co. owner contemplates future in downtown Vernon after fourth break-in in four years

Four years in downtown Vernon, four breaks-ins and a fire at a couple of locations.

Those numbers have convinced Okanagan Skate Co. owner-operator Bryce Wach to perhaps look outside the downtown core to run his business when his current lease expires.

Break-in No. 4 happened Saturday morning at approximately 4:30 a.m. when a lone individual with head and face covered smashed the window on the door to Wach’s business in the 2900 block of 30th Avenue and made off with shoes and apparel in under three minutes, according to the shop’s video surveillance.

Read more: Break in doesn’t halt holiday hopes at Vernon store

“On conclusion of my lease, I’ll either be looking to join up with another business in another area outside of downtown, or I’ll move to an online store,” said Wach Sunday. “I don’t think the downtown crime issue is being addressed.”

Wach was made aware of the break-in at around 6:30 a.m. The damage was cleaned up as best could be, and Wach still went ahead with a planned Board Release Event, as his company makes some of its own product. The release was for skateboards for spring 2019.

“Unfortunately, we must continue forward with it being our fourth break-in, there’s not a lot of help or resources for small businesses. You have to continue on yourself,” said Wach.

During the event, he said, “a street gentleman threatened a couple of customers and threw a water bottle in store.”

The community rallied behind Wach when word of the break-in got out on social media.

“The community support has been great, a lot of great messages,” said Wach. “David from The Fig (Soup and Sandwich Bistro) and Andrew from Ratio (Coffee and Pastry) brought food and coffee which was great.”

Related: Thieves smash through Vernon’s Village Green mall in break-in

The Okanagan Skate Co. was closed Sunday and opened for business as usual Monday.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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