Jewellery store to reopen following ram-raid robbery
GEM-Array Jewellers in Ballina Fair is set to reopen today, nearly a month after a ram-raid robbery on the store.
Connie Bidwell, who owns the shop with husband Paul, said she was looking forward to the reopening.
"It's been a strange time, to say the least," she said of the past month.
"But we've gotten over the heartbreak of it all."
In the early hours of New Year's eve last year, thieves drove a vehicle through the southern entrance of Ballina Fair, which was closed at the time, and into the jewellery shop.
That forced the closure of the jewellery shop.
Mrs Bidwell said while the stock was insured, and some loss of trade also will be covered, that won't make up for what is generally the busiest time of the year.
"It's been a huge loss," she said.
While the couple has received well-wishes from the community, she hoped the reopening in the lead-up to February 14's Valentine's Day will help recoup some of those losses.
Gem-Array Jewellers opened in Moon St in Ballina 34 years ago.
The business moved into Ballina Fair shopping centre as one of the first tenants when the shopping centre opened 30 years ago.
Mrs Bidwell said the reopened store "won't look pretty" as the repairs and replacement of cabinets was not complete.
But, as the couple wrote on the shop's Facebook page, there will be a range of "all things shiny".
In the Facebook post, Mr and Mrs Bidwell thanked the "wonderful staff for all their hard work so we can get up and running again."
The shop is set to open at 9am.
Meanwhile in mid-January, Richmond Police District Inspector Darren Cloake said the Ballina ram-raid may be part of a widespread criminal initiative.
At least three other incidents south of Brisbane - at Browns Plains, Logan Central and Greenbank - which occurred over a 25-hour period may be linked to the Ballina robbery.
"There are certainly a number of similarities," he said.
"While it is up to the investigators to make a determination that there is a link, on face value we would expect those to be connected."