Harper WoodsJanuary 15, 2013
Crime drives family business from Kelly
By April Lehmbeck
C & G Staff Writer
HARPER WOODS — Tom and Melissa Jenkins opened Second Glance Resale Shop in the town they call home, a city they are dedicated to and have lived in or near all of their lives, so deciding to close their doors on Kelly wasn’t easy.
It was a sad decision.
It was a necessary one, however, after the business was targeted by criminals too many times in recent months.
“In the last four months, we have had (four) night-time break-ins,” the couple stated on the business’ Facebook page late last month. “Last night, the store was robbed at gunpoint by three masked gunmen.
“We are normally very private regarding our business, but are being honest about the situation because we feel our customers deserve an explanation,” they said in the post. “Many of our employees are close friends and family members. We would never ask our family to work in a situation where they will be in harm’s way so that we can make money. By the same right, we would never ask a member of someone else’ family to be put in that same position.”
The couple opened their Harper Woods store in 2004. Many of their customers are regulars, coming back often to look at the deals in the store from clothing for their family to electronics and children’s toys and equipment, among many other items.
Despite the closing of the Kelly road site, customers don’t have to go far to continue shopping at the popular business. The couple opened up a second location on Nine Mile in Eastpointe last year, hoping they could continue to grow their successful business with two locations.
“We fully intended on keeping the Harper Woods location open when we opened our second location in August,” they said on Facebook. “We hired extra staff and made significant investments in new flooring and new lighting.”
In hopes of finding a way to keep the Kelly site open and safe, they had considered an armed guard, but that wasn’t a feasible option, financially, so the decision ultimately was to close.
Now, the employees who worked at the Kelly Road site were to be working at the Eastpointe location while the couple seeks out a second site for the store, according to their Facebook site.
They’ve asked their customers to head over to the Eastpointe site.
“We have amazing employees and will try to get through this without significantly cutting hours,” they said. “To do this, we need your support and continued patronage.
“We love and cherish the community and have always done our best to support it,” they stated on Facebook. “We hope that you will continue to shop with us at our 9 Mile location, next to the Aldi’s between Kelly and I-94.”
While this decision was a personal one for the business owners, it has caused city officials to talk about what can be done to deal with the problem of crime on Kelly, which police have said is adjacent to a section of Detroit that has been named one of the most dangerous zip codes.
Mayor Ken Poynter said he was sad to hear that the business was leaving.
Council member Charles Flanagan said businesses fleeing the city is not new. He pointed to opposition from the fire union against the city’s public safety drive as the reason some police officers with years of experience left in fear of layoffs.
“The tsunami of crime I predicted, which some firefighters and their supporters called ‘fear mongering,’ is here,” he said in an email.
He believes the answer to the crime problem is a public safety department, so that there can be an increase in patrols.
He believes things in Harper Woods have been on the decline for years.
“This deterioration did not start with the housing implosion,” Flanagan said. “We lost Notre Dame, Regina, Bishop Gallagher, Lutheran East high schools, as well as St. Peters and Queen of Peace elementary schools, before the housing crisis …”
Flanagan named a number of businesses that have left the city.
“Harper Woods is on its last legs and the community apathy as evidenced by council attendance is absurd,” he said.
During a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Costantino commented on the closing of Second Glance. She said that the hiring of part-time police officers will give more opportunities to boost patrols.
“Maybe Kelly Road would be a great place to start,” she said, adding that the owners of Second Glance are committed to keeping Harper Woods their home, but the concern is Kelly Road.
“We need all of our residents and business owners to feel safe,” she said. “We don’t want to lose good businesses like that. They’ve been business owners in Harper Woods for a long time. They are committed to Harper Woods.”