257 dundas street east

Mississauga small business loses thousands in merchandise during break-in

If it hasn't been a difficult enough year for small businesses everywhere, a number have experienced savage break-ins and robberies in recent weeks, including an electronics and appliance store at 257 Dundas Street East in Mississauga.

Looters smashed the front window at Wow Liquidation near Hurontario and the QEW in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods from owner Kenny Joseph, who has had the store for four years and been a pioneering independent business proprietor for more than 30.

"Business has dropped… I'm just struggling here. No time is a good time, but this is the worst time," Joseph said of the incident, which took place around 4:30 a.m. under the cover of darkness.

The intruders were masked and appeared to have known exactly what they were going for, escaping with approximately $3,000 of product, along with shattering the glass storefront.

Joseph's son, #LetsTalk podcaster and finance professional Kev Joseph, shared his dad's story on social media a few hours after the fact, where it picked up traction and got hundreds of retweets and more than 1,800 likes.

"To the criminals who broke into my Dad’s store this morning at 4:30am, You broke glass/stole but you haven't broken/stolen his Spirit," Kev wrote before asking for users to come support his dad's store during this tough time.

And it seems that, understandably, people are really empathizing with Joseph Sr.'s plight as a small business owner during what has been a devastating year of forced closures and drastically low sales.

It's been especially hard for Joseph given that, as a retail veteran, his business model is more community-based and in-person focused, and he hasn't prioritized an online presence — something that he will be setting up by the new year.

Thankfully, his story has garnered an outpouring of support, Kev says. "We’re hoping that maybe it will drives some business to my dad and other small businesses... It's just terrible because a lot of these stores forced to shutdown might only get three to five people patronizing their establishment on a good day."

He also believes that the lockdown measures have led small shops to be especially vulnerable to crime now that they're just "sitting ducks" and foot traffic is low — and his father agrees.

"Business is dead. You look around now, it's an eerie feeling. Something is in the air," Joseph Sr. days. "There's no life, everything is closed. That plays with people's psyche, too."

The police are still actively investigating the crime, which the family has fortunately not let play with their own psyche. Despite the cruel nature of what happened to him and the consequent and unexpected financial blow just before the holidays, Joseph remains in admirably high spirits.

“It could have been a lot worse," he says ."We'll definitely overcome this, this is just a stumbling block. The easiest thing is to give up, and I'm not going to do that."

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