STOCKTON, Calif — After months in the planning stages, a new Downtown Stockton clothing store and artist space finally opened last weekend.
"The community has shown us that this is something that needs to happen," said Oliver Opus, Drycleaners co-owner.
But, just a day after their grand opening, Drycleaners, at the corner of N. San Joaquin Street and Weber Avenue had a break-in at their front window.
"They just threw the stone and grabbed whatever they could," Opus said.
Puka Tutis, a sculpture artist who creates unique pendants and more, had ten of her pieces stolen.
"I was really shocked because it was the second day, and I didn't expect that to happen," said Tutis.
Drycleaners is far from what its namesake might imply. Opus describes the name as a conversation starter, however, Drycleaners wants to be known as a "queer- and black-owned sustainable clothing shop."
It has 18 vendors and artists. They also sell vintage clothing, hand made pottery, jewelry and more.
But, the store and those who sell believe the break-in is a blessing in disguise.
That's because a GoFundMe account to make repairs quickly reached its goal of $1,000 and more.
"Regardless of what happened, honestly, it really showed how tightknit the community is, and I was really shocked because the community was ready to help in any way they could," said Tutis.
"The initial feeling is like, 'man!' But, when you believe in what you are doing and you're doing it for the right reason, the immediate response right after that is 'No, we got to keep going,'" said Matthew Amen, who provides the space for the store through the Stockton-based, Huddle X Launch Pad.
To remind themselves what happened is only a temporary setback, written on the boarded up window are the words: "Our community is stronger than a bit of broken glass."