Kori Giudici, her husband Jacob Wollner and their 11-year-old son Moses were just starting to open their Christmas presents Saturday morning when Portland police called with disturbing news.
The couple’s retail shop Flipside Hats was broken into overnight. It’s the second burglary to the retail business since it opened Nov. 1 on Southeast Stark Street in the city’s Montavilla neighborhood.
Giudici said her son was devastated because the call disrupted the very moment that his parents were opening the homemade pendants he had made for them.
The smashing of the front door glass can be heard on the store’s video surveillance footage, followed by a man bursting through, and immediately grabbing hat after hat and tossing them into a blue recycling bin he’s holding. The intruder apparently made two trips to clean out the store, Giudici said.
The couple estimated that about $35,000 worth of merchandise and at least 300 hats were stolen in the overnight break-in.
Giudici and her husband were at the store about 11:45 p.m. Christmas Eve to retrieve a drum set they had bought their son for Christmas and had secretly stored there. They suspect the break-in occurred about 4:30 a.m., and whoever was involved rammed a car into the store’s door and its frame, breaking both before gaining access to their business.
On Nov. 3, the store’s front window was smashed and the shelves were cleared out of hats. After that burglary, the owners replaced the glass window and front door.
Now, the couple is unsure when they can reopen. Giudici said they’re thinking of putting in a sliding accordion-type door to cover up the entire entrance to the business at night but expect that could take some time. In the meantime, they might use a small retail spot next door that they haven’t rented out yet.
Giudici and Wollner moved from the East Coast to Oregon about 20 years ago, and grew to love the city but said they are dismayed by the crime they’ve had to deal with the last two months.
Flipside Hats began nearly 20 years ago when Giudici was in medical school and began selling handcrafted hats at street fairs. They had a store on Southeast Belmont Street for a decade before moving to Stark Street, she said.
“We live about a mile away,” Giudici said. “This is our neighborhood.”
Giudici said her husband headed to the store after they received the call from police to take photos and clean up.
Despite the Christmas grinch that nearly shattered their holiday, Giudici said she tried to impress upon her son to look on the bright side.
“Let’s just look at all the wonderful things we do have,” she said she told him. “No one got hurt. It’s just money, and we still have the whole morning ahead to open presents once Dad gets back.”
Giudici said she was struck that only hats were swiped by the thief. Not cash, not the computer.
Maybe, she said, that’s a sure sign of how valued her hats are.
“I told Jacob, I’ve made it. I’ve made it as a designer.”
— Maxine Bernstein
Email [email protected]; 503-221-8212
Follow on Twitter @maxoregonian