20-year-old El Monte small business owner closes shop after repeated burglaries
Exchanged Hype, a store specializing in high-demand sneakers and shoes in South El Monte, is fed up with repeated break-ins and attempted robberies.
20-year-old owner and local Efrain Gonzalez has now closed the doors of his store after just six months of opening, pulling a viable business from the block of Garvey Avenue and moving to an online-only model.
In a video posted on Instagram of Exchanged Hype, Gonzalez posted a video three days ago showing a trio of thieves milling around outside the storefront, spotting him in the middle of a seemingly empty Tito’s Plaza.
After a few moments, the footage cuts to a scene of broken glass on the floor, as one of the would-be bandits holds what appears to be a tool used for breaking and entering. A high-pitched groan from the store seems to lead them. away, though it’s unclear whether the suspects crossed the threshold of the shop.
This weekend’s attempted theft follows an actual theft of merchandise that occurred shortly after the store opened. Between the damages and the loss of goods, Gonzalez says he lost about $10,000 from these crimes.
Encouraging anyone who recognizes the sneaker thieves to contact him or El Monte police, Gonzalez writes:
Financially and mentally, I think we can’t stay here any longer. I love the things we had here as a physical store and location and hope to maintain the connection I’ve made with everyone, but we’re not going to have a physical store anymore. I will list all items and make an online store only. I love all of you guys hate or not. I tried and it was not yet time to have my own store.
“I don’t feel safe being here anymore, and it’s just sad… My door is broken, my gate is broken, the glass is broken, the floor is broken – there’s a little hole – my shoes are scattered everywhere”, Gonzalez told KTLA.
Exchanged Hype began online in 2017, when Gonzalez was still in his early teens, selling special-edition Jordans, Dunks, Vans and glow-in-the-dark Yeezy slides at the behest of sneakerheads who covet them.
Although he says “it hurts a lot” to close the physical store, he has already announced the withdrawal of an online-only business again on his social networks.
His next challenge is to convince online shoppers weary of online shopping scams of his effectiveness and reliability as an online seller, with fans and customers. currently leaving testimonials of his follow-up and dedication.
El Monte, meanwhile, looks like it may have lost a business with a permanently strong following due to the actions of a few greedy scam artists. Among the commenters on Gonzalez’s post showing the attempted robbery, one follower claims their mother owns the nearby pharmacy and writes, “tthe same guys broke in a few months ago, and we never caught them.
For his part, Gonzalez says he has filed police reports and is asking for the public’s help in catching the perpetrators.
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