If you mistakenly thought Palm and Moon Bagel Cafe at the Buckwalter Place Shopping Center had closed, blame Hurricane Matthew.
Or better yet, blame the person who apparently made off with the shop’s damaged, custom-designed metal sign right after the storm this past October, leaving the storefront unmarked.
That’s right, someone thought it would be a good idea to creep around the back of a small business and take the small business’ sign, which was back there awaiting repairs, and leave customers of this small business wondering what the heck is going on.
Why would someone do this? Maybe the thief has a things against bagels or maybe he didn’t think 2016 was bad enough for some people. Or it could have been he has an odd hobby of collecting stolen street and business signs.
Regardless, the local bagel shop has a message for customers who might be confused and disappointed.
“No, we did NOT close,” owner Rainey Schott said over Facebook messenger Tuesday.
In fact, the cafe in Bluffton is so not closed that they’re expanding their hours to open on Tuesdays starting Jan. 10, she said.
“We have had many people message us on Facebook (and) post on our Facebook page asking (if we’re open still),” Schott said. “We’ve also had many of our regulars come in (and) ask if we were closing. Since we put our banner up, some of the chatter has stopped.”
But even with the temporary sign, Susan Crosey, a manager at Palm and Moon Bagel Cafe, said there are still people who doubt the business is truly open.
She said when the staff returned to the shop after the hurricane, they noticed the sign had flown off the outside entrance of the business and someone had set the sign against the front of the building.
Unfortunately, the person who last saw the sign was not as kind as this good Samaritan.
The sign was behind the store for about a week when Crosey said she noticed it was missing. She said the sign couldn’t have been mistaken for trash because the dumpsters where businesses at the shopping center put their garbage are nowhere near the back of the cafe.
Schott said she also believed the sign was stolen because it was made out of metal and the thief probably scrapped it for money.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” she said. “Something that just needed a few repairs now has to be completely replaced.”
But despite a hurricane, a theft and a turn through the rumor mill, Crosey said she hoped that once the sign was back in place, business would pick back up.
“We’re not going anywhere, regardless of the rumors,” she said. “... And we appreciate those who support us each and every day.”