A nasty Christmas surprise11 December 2018
Gillionaires, we normally only post good news, new models, restocks and promotions here, but today, we have something not so nice to tell you. We doubted whether to make this public, but as it impacts you too, we thought it best to be an open book and share everything with you all: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Yesterday, Monday December 10th, Tom discovered a very shocking ‘Christmas surprise’ when he went to the Gillio Boutique in Brussels.
As some of you might know, the Galleries Louise where the shop is located, has been sold to a developer and they are doing huge construction works in the building. Almost all the shops have relocated or sold their business, but as the Gillio Boutique has been there since 1952, we chose to stay put, even under those conditions. We have the third generation of Van Haelens working there, we are extremely proud of the heritage of that shop, and we’re not going to leave just like that.
Because of the construction work, the Galleries don’t have security present anymore at all times, and there aren’t many people that make their way to the shop anymore. Needless to say this has been horrible for our decades of business there, but we still open the shop – on appointment, and during the busy holiday season. We have a very loyal clientele there that count on us for their diary refills, calendars and Christmas presents.
When Tom arrived at the shop yesterday morning, this is what he found:
We had been robbed.
The windows of our beloved store were smashed, the door was smashed, the contents of the beautiful Christmas window displays had vanished. Inside the store, it was as if a hurricane had passed: counters had been emptied, the cash register was empty, most of the stock is gone. Planners, briefcases, wallets, expensive pens, even some watches we still sold there: all gone.
The lack of security combined with some major protests that had been going on on Sunday, resulted in a “smash-‘n-grab session” for some opportunistic thieves that had nobody watching and could do as they please. Of course, we had police come by, we are making an inventory of all that is lost, and our insurance has been most helpful in making sure we will be compensated for the lost goods.
But more than lost goods, we have been hit in our heart this week. More than stolen inventory (read: stolen potential Christmas presents for many of our loyal clients), we are not going to be able to make any sales there this season, and rebuilding / repairing will take a lot of time. We are going to have a family meeting and decide the faith of that store that has gotten such a special place in our hearts for almost 70 years. The store where our international success grew, with meet-ups and welcoming customers from all over the world that came to visit.
We are closing the Brussels’ shop down until further notice.
We will be focusing our efforts and time even more on YOU this season – you who have also gotten a special place in our hearts since 5 years, and who have helped us transition into a new era of a new (digital) store that will hopefully outlast our physical one.
Thank you for reading, and for your understanding.