Red Deer rallies around shop that was target of smash and grab robbery

LVs Vinyl Cafe is getting back on its feet thanks to the overwhelming support of residents

Overwhelmed is an understatement.

Ever since LV’s Vinyl Cafe was broken into, owner Lisa Spencer Cook has cried in more strangers’ arms than she can count.

“Literally I have sobbed in the arms of strangers for two days straight,” she said.

“This has made me even more determined to make this store work.”

The small downtown shop, which opened just three weeks ago, was the target of a smash and grab theft on Wednesday. In the early morning hours, someone smashed through the glass door and the front cash register was taken.

In the two days after the incident, a parade of compassionate people has brought goodwill and emotional and financial support to the shop.

“Friends came in and bought records, sandwiches, etc.,” said Spencer Cook. “Then people I don’t know came in and started doing the same, saying they’d read my story.

“But then people came in, didn’t buy anything, but left huge amounts of money in my tip jar.”

A single mother, Spencer Cook invested all of her money in the shop so she could bring her four-year-old special needs daughter to work when she could. The break-in was devastating to that dream.

In a blog post Friday evening, Spencer Cook shared many of the encounters with generous Red Deerians she has had since the break-in.

“One gentleman came in and bought a panini, just on the guise of buying a panini, and as he was leaving he handed me an envelope,” said Spencer Cook

The envelope contained gift certificates to a local spa. But the man wasn’t done yet, he put $250 into her tip jar and walked out. Large tips similar to that have been constant, she said.

She has lived in Red Deer for the past nine years, and this is the first time she has been on the receiving end of this volume of support.

“Someone came in with a huge box of toys for Christmas for my daughter, so it would be one less thing I would have to worry about,” said Spencer Cook.

“A lady came in and spent a small fortune on vinyl and as she was leaving she gave me an envelope. In there was a letter from her about how she used to be a single mom, but life has been kind to her and her and her sister decided not to give each other gifts this year But to give something to someone who needed more.

“It was enough (money) to change the game for me this month. It was enough to make sure I can pay people and my lease. This month, we’re OK.”

She intends to pay all this support forward, when she’s up on her feet.

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