Penny Harwood, owner of Harwood Goldsmiths got such a call in the early hours of a Monday morning in 2014. Thieves carried out a ram raid on Penny’s jewellery shop, driving a stolen car through her Pukekohe premises.
When Police said there was a car with hazard lights on in her store, Penny was understandably confused. ‘’They said something about a car. I was like, ‘I don’t sell cars, I think you’ve got the wrong number’ and they said ‘No, there’s a car in your shop!” At the time, Penny had only recently sunk her life savings into purchasing the business. Now, three years on, I spoke with Penny to see how the incident affected her desire to be a business owner, and the challenges she faced.
“Building our client-base back up was a challenge. The insurance took a few months to pay out, so I had to cover all the overheads, wages etc personally, which was hard.” Penny said she had to use all of her personal savings, just to keep the business afloat. Thankfully, when her savings ran out, her bank helped bridge the gap while she waited for the insurance money.
Hard times often provide opportunities for humanity to sparkle, and Penny was touched by community kindness. “I was blown away by many in the Franklin community who waited for us to have doors again, so we could repair their jewellery. Amazing! Loda from Slice of Elegance would see me sorting through the rubble and bring me a coffee and a friendly face. Among all of the chaos, it was a beautiful thing.”
For some, an experience like this would see them simply pack up and get out. Not so for Penny.
“The incident really just peeved me off if I’m being frank! I didn’t ever want to throw in the towel however. If anything, I was more determined to drive my energy and focus into the rebuild and make sure it was how I always envisaged my workshop.”
Government stats show that 97% of businesses in New Zealand, are small businesses. They dominate our industries and are crucial to our economic survival. It’s great to see this small business surviving and thriving in our community.