It wasn’t the start to 2021 Mark Fardella was expecting, after his SBT Comics store in Kingston had been broken into on New Year's Eve.
"The first thing I noticed was the case was completely bare," says Fardella. "They kicked (the door) in and it looked like the glass had just exploded."
Fardella received a call from Kingston police at about 8 a.m. saying his comic book shop on Taylor Kidd Blvd had a number of items stolen from it overnight.
He says surveillance footage shows a lone person smashing through the front door, and taking thousands of dollars worth of items in a matter of minutes.
"The expensive comics and the high end stuff behind the counter was gone," says Fardella. "I felt like I wanted to throw up for a few hours."
Like all non-essential retail stores under Ontario’s latest lockdown, SBT Comics has been closed to the public since Boxing Day.
Fardella says this is the latest blow during a difficult year.
"To me I felt like that was it, because we haven’t recovered from shut down number one, you know, we’re still recovering from that," he says. "I’m putting in 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and I’m tired and I’m stressed out."
After the break-in, Fardella posted to the store's Facebook page. He says he just wanted to vent his frustration, but what came next was unexpected.
The post was shared hundreds of times and a line up of shoppers appeared, looking to show support and buy items from the shop.
Even on quiet New Year's Day, there was a steady stream of customers. Customer Kate Craft says she shops at the store often and saw the post.
"You just figure now is the time to help him out," she explains. "See what we can do to be a part of the community, and save our favourite business."
Brock Poirier agrees.
"I’m very disappointed that someone would even go to these lengths to even do such a thing," he says.
A GoFundMe Page had also raised $7,000 by Friday afternoon for the store. Fardella says he’s blown away by all the support, and says it’s about moving forward.
"Just being part of the community," he sighs. "They obviously want us around because they shelled out support."