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Charitable Monroe business hit with 5 burglaries this year

Surveillance video obtained by KIRO 7 TV shows thieves breaking into Bargain Barn at 4:30 a.m. one day in June. (KIRO 7 TV)

A Monroe outlet store that caters to people in need could go out of business if it keeps getting burglarized.

In just the past 10 months, criminals have broken into Bargain Barn Outlet Store five times, costing the small business in both merchandise and repairs. The most recent time, as KIRO 7 TV reported, the burglars threw a rock through the window to get in.

“It does greatly affect our profitability, for sure. If stuff keeps happening and if it keeps costing us, at some point it doesn’t become cost-effective to keep the business open,” co-owner Josh Gibson told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

Bargain Barn offers products from groceries to clothing to electronics at drastically discounted prices, aimed at people struggling financially. For example, one stroller that retails for $160 at other stores was sold to a mom for $60.

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Sometimes items are even given out for free, such as Halloween costumes for kids whose families cannot afford them.

The Monroe business does not only help people in need by providing discounted prices; Bargain Barn also gives back a portion of its earnings to nonprofits like local women’s shelters, churches, poverty relief organization Hope in Haiti, and Take the Next Step, a Monroe organization that gives meals and shelter to the homeless.

“The reason we exist is to give generously, not only locally, but internationally,” Gibson said. “And we take a portion of those profits and pour them back into the community, or to international organizations.”

In addition to the financial donations, the entire team of employees also performs community service by helping at homeless shelters, providing free childcare for moms in need, and cleaning up trash.

“We believe fully that the gifts and talents and treasures that we have are not our own and they have been given to us, and so we want to freely share those with other people,” Gibson said. “Granted, we still have to pay payroll and overhead, but we take the money off the top and give as much as we possibly can away. We don’t believe it’s ours; it’s someone else’s.”

But the rash of burglaries is making it harder and harder to carry out this charitable mission. Repairs after burglars destroyed the front door cost Bargain Barn $1,000.

“When people take … it just limits the ability for us to give that back out,” he said. “And so that $1,000 that we had to take out of our profits to fix the front door could have gone to some local organization.”

If the burglars are that much in need of money, Gibson wishes that they could go to a charity organization instead of stealing.

“I just wish people would ask versus take,” he said. “I think a lot of people have a more open hand than people think.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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