Watch CBS News

Oakland designer Taylor Jay closes Rockridge outlet after repeat burglaries

Oakland fashion designer closes shop following burglaries
Oakland fashion designer closes shop following burglaries 02:56

OAKLAND -- A Black, woman-owned small business is closing down in Oakland partly due to repeated break-ins, according to the owner.

Taylor Jay Collection has two stores in Oakland. Taylor Jay said her flagship store on Broadway will remain open but she's closing her College Avenue store in the Rockridge neighborhood.

"I've taken the pain and the dispointment. You feel a little bit like there's some failure in there but we're going to turn it into a winning situation," Jay said.

The fashion designer made a lot of friends at her College Avenue location over the past year so, on Sunday, she hosted a "Grand Closing" event with free food and wine as a customer thank-you.

"We are going to miss her on this street and we are so sorry that she's not going to be here," said loyal customer Tierney Highfill. "There are hundreds of business on this street and Taylor is one of the very few Black-owned businesses that is in this neighborhood. And regardless of race, it matters, it matters that Taylor is here."

"It's disappointing, it's frustrating to see so many Oakland businesses having to move just based on our crime issues," said  customer Monica Wheaton-Howell.

Taylor Jay said she decided to shut the College Avenue store not long after a break-in on May 14.

"(The burglar) opened the door through the (broken glass door) faster than we can with our keys. And he didn't have a mask on or anything. So it was very intentional and it was very much like 'I don't care,'" Jay said.

Surveillance footage shows a man in a hat breaking the glass door and ransacking the shop despite a loud alarm blasting in the background.

Taylor Jay said the thief took over $10,000 worth of products.

"We didn't even file a claim because it just wasn't worth us losing our insurance for it," Jay said.

It was the second burglary in a short time for the clothing company. Surveillance footage from Easter Sunday shows a masked burglar kicking open the glass door at their flagship store on Broadway downtown.

Jay said the man spent an hour in that store and cleaned out about $20,000 worth of merchandise.

"It didn't really make sense for us to be stressed out about more break-ins and to take more losses here just didn't make sense," Jay said.

She said that, even before the break-ins, she saw a decline in business and suspects part of that was due to crime.

"I want to have a positive mindset of where we're headed and I think many of us are sick of it and many of us want the city to be the beauty that it was," said Xiomara Rosa-Tedla, owner of a small business called UnoEth.

But the city said crime is trending downward. Oakland police reported commercial burglary is down 42 percent so far this year compared to the same period last year.

Taylor Jay said she would like to see more police foot patrols in the city.

"If we're not thriving, if we're not surviving, if we're closing, what happens to the city?" asked Taylor Jay

Her College Avenue store will close at the end of the month. She said she's not aware of any arrests in the two break-ins.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.