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British Columbia

Thieves smash Coquitlam gift store night before grand opening

Nicole Doiron is grateful for the support of the Austin Heights neighborhood after her store was burgled this week.

Nicole Doiron may only be 16, but she’s on a mission to open a gift shop filled with fresh-cut flowers, gifts from local artisans, and a fragrant, tranquil space in Coquitlam’s bustling Austin Heights neighborhood.

But on Wednesday (February 1st) the atmosphere at Artisan Gifts and Flowers was anything but calm.

The store at 1038A Austin Ave. The house had been broken into the night before and Doiron had a big mess to clean up, including getting in the front door and doing an inventory.

According to video captured by the alarm, thieves smashed down the front door, ransacked the register, stole the cash register and exited through the back door, leaving the front door unlocked.

Luckily there was no money in the till.

But Doiron was upset when she saw the store in disarray on Wednesday morning because it was supposed to be the opening day for her new store.

“I wasn’t scared, I was shocked,” said Doiron, an 11th grade student at Archbishop Carney Secondary, who runs the business with the help of her mother Susie and sister Meagan.

Coquitlam RCMP has confirmed the break-in and says officers are working on the case.

Meanwhile, Doiron and her mother process what happened.

Grateful for the community support

“I felt exhausted when I walked into the store,” Susie said, “but a lot of people came in today and they were so nice.”

The debit and credit card readers are still working and Doiron sold her first gift on Wednesday morning – a baby shower gift consisting of a cute bowl and spoon.

“A lot of people came in [and] they had a lot of nice things to say,” said Doiron.

Despite the setback, Doiron is looking forward to the challenge of taking over the business from the previous owner.

“I have a lot of optimism,” she told the Tri City News.

Began to propagate plants

There are plans to update the stock to showcase more local artisans and sustainable products.

Doiron learned floral arrangement while previously working at Artisan Gifts and Flowers and has always had a green thumb, planting, growing, sprouting and propagating plants in her bedroom during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Her father Patrick, himself a business owner, wants his daughter to be successful and supports her efforts to run the gift shop between school and homework.

Doiron does well with hard work, she says.

“It’s a bit hectic,” admits Doiron, admitting that she had to get up at 5:30 am on Monday morning (January 30) to get to United Flower Growers, a Burnaby-based flower wholesaler.

But the business gives her a purpose.

Her sister and mother run the shop when Doiron is at school, but Doiron runs the business.

And so far, the high schooler seems ready to take up the challenge – despite this week’s slump.

“She knows what she wants and she’s going to get it,” said mum Susie.

Coquitlam RCMP investigated

Business hours are 10:00am to 6:00pm Wednesday to Sunday, except during Valentine’s Day week when the store is open on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Coquitlam RCMP has confirmed that frontline officers attended Artisan Gift and Flowers to report a burglary that took place overnight between January 31 and February 1, 2023.

The file is still under investigation.

Coquitlam RCMP is asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident or has dashcam or video footage to contact the Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and quote file number 2023-2939.

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