Ashton businessman vows to fight on after third break-in
Monday 16th January 2017 @ 10:53 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Community Hyde News

A local businessman has vowed not to let the thieves who ransacked one of his Ashton businesses for the third time get the better of him.

It wasn’t a happy start to the New Year for Gareth Hardy after he discovered thieves had smashed their way into Go Hard Kitchen on the night of New Year’s Day and raided the Wood Street premises – only a fortnight after it opened.

In 2015, Gareth, 37, from Hyde, set up his own business under the umbrella ‘Go Hard Company’ – which operates three different stores providing nutritional meals, protein supplements and meals in a health food kitchen.

But after his Go Hard Nutrition store – adjacent to the kitchen – was targeted in two previous incidents similar to this, Gareth is at rock bottom having invested his own funds to support the local community he cares a great deal about.

He told the Reporter: “It happened on 28 December 2015 at Go Hard Nutrition and we didn’t open again until 28 May last year which was devastating.

“We had hit the ground running, were constantly busy and doing really well and then it happened again towards the end of July – they smashed the window with a concrete bollard and stole items so we were closed for a few weeks.

“The insurance were brilliant, we dealt with the same woman as the first time and they paid out but couldn’t pay for everything because of various loopholes – so the window and tracksuits didn’t get paid for.

“I must have lost around £2,000 in total which, for a small business, can kill you. I had to close my doors and grin and bear it, because you cannot let people beat you. I have designed my own gym wear and tracksuits – all I am trying to do is build a brand.

“I’ve always wanted to open a kitchen – it’s a nice standard, I didn’t spend a fortune and my family helped me afford it. It’s the first of its kind in Ashton and has mains cooked to order – the chef makes everything from scratch.

“We opened two weeks before Christmas and it was a great success. There was one day when we had no-one come in but then all of a sudden I spoke to two people in Go Hard Nutrition where I was and we had people queuing outside the door.

“I’m not making lots of money straight away and looking for loads of profit because I want to give everyone a deal on the high street and beat prices online because it’s expensive as it is.”

Devastation: Some of the damage caused as vandals broke in to the shop during the festive period

The kitchen re-opened last Monday (January 9) after being closed for more than a week whilst repairs were carried out.

Gareth wants to make people aware he is trying to get back on track and intends to continue to help the Ashton community but admitted it’s difficult for him to support his wife and four young children, who are ‘heartbroken’ by what has happened.

“I want to see Ashton do well,” Gareth said. “It’s being regenerated at the moment and customers are slowly starting to come back which is a positive thing so I want to do something to help.

“But it’s very difficult to keep rebuilding when someone is trying to sabotage your business.

“It was crazy – me and my wife had a few drinks and went out for the New Year and I was woken up to a call from the police to say the kitchen had been broken into and my head almost fell into my heart.

“I had titanium padlocks put in and they had cut through that. The main window wasn’t completely smashed but they had booted the wooden double panel which the breakfast bar sits on top of.

“The girl who runs the kitchen said there was no more than £20 of stuff left. Around £150 worth of protein bars were taken as well as five tubs of protein, which are £25 each.

“My family are heartbroken – my eldest daughter is 16 so she is old enough to understand but I also have a one-year-old, a three-year-old and a nine-year-old.

“It has hit my wife harder than me. She was devastated but relieved it wasn’t the Nutrition shop again.

“The police have been to the shop but they are not miracle workers. There was no evidence, fingerprints or CCTV. A watch was found outside which has been taken by Crime Scene Investigators to examine but they have done everything they can do.”

Gareth will now be installing CCTV cameras outside his premises, which he hopes will prevent another attack, but he is now trying to look onward and upward.

“You have to turn a negative into a positive,” he insisted. “I will never roll over for anyone especially not for the people trying to do what they’re doing.

“If they had a decent bone in their body, they would stop doing it and see what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to give people something back – I give out free diet advice and plans when a nutritionist would normally charge £30 for a consultation.

“I’m happy to help people – I don’t socialise, family are very important to me. Everything I’m building is for them. I came from a council estate and struggling in life has made me who I am.”

Anyone who wishes to give Gareth a helping hand in any way can give him a call on 07528 930 777.