DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Monday morning, owner of the Entrepreneurs Shoppe, Tae Winston, woke up to news someone had broken into her Dayton business for the second time in two months. She said when she first heard the news, she felt shocked to be in the same position so soon.
“I’m just feeling a little down because I’m for the community,” she said. “The stores are community based stores, you know. I just want the community to know I’m fighting and trying to still be…the small business hero, but you know, it’s draining because I spend my own money to build things up and…for someone to just come in twice and take from me — it’s hard.”
Winston said thieves broke into the shop around midnight both times, leading her to believe the same people are responsible for both incidents.
“I think it’s definitely personal,” she said, “just because they knew what they wanted both times. The first time, they came at 12:15 a.m., the second time they came at 12:30 a.m. So that raised a flag. They had the same rock both times.”
She said the thieves got away in white vehicle with a tall, blue speaker system on wheels that is worth $1,000, and caused her store $10,000 in damage. She said insurance will cover some of the damage, but added the break-ins have left her to reconsider safety options for her family and her business — including installing a gate, which she would pay for out of her own pocket, or moving out of the neighborhood for which she has a tremendous amount of love.
She said while she plans for next steps following the break in, community members should know that one thing thieves didn’t break is her spirit, and the spirits of those who do business with the Entrepreneurs Shoppe.
“I opened everything based on what the city needed… and it’s working,” she said. “People are able to feed their families. They’re believing in their dreams. More people are leaving me [and] opening their own stores. So you know, it’s needed. I just feel like…it’s a big deal and I don’t want people trying to take from it. Let’s build up the community, let’s not take from it.”
Winston said police are reviewing video footage to determine who is responsible for the break-in. In the meantime, she said the community can offer their support by showing up to the grand opening of the Entrepreneurship Connection this Sunday at 200 Wayne Ave, or by donating via Cash App at $TaeWinstonMarketplace.