Backcountry owner estimates his store might not open until next week

The hole in Backcountry's exterior wall caused by a man at the wheel of a stolen pickup truck during a break and enter Tuesday morning. Photo by Chris Newton

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. —  The owner of Backcountry in Fort St. John says that the extent of the damage sustained during a break and enter that saw a man drive a pickup truck through the store’s exterior wall means he might not be reopening until next week.

At around 4:30 Tuesday morning, a man at the wheel of a stolen pickup truck smashed through Backcountry’s exterior cinderblock wall before driving right into the store. Backcountry co-owner Steve Hewitt said that while nothing was stolen from the business, the suspect caused a “massive” amount of damage to the store and its contents.

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Hewitt said that the suspect struck one of the building’s main support columns, and the store’s owners are waiting for an engineer to assess whether the building is still structurally sound. He estimated repairs to the exterior wall could be anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000, while at least $75,000 worth of the store’s merchandise, displays, and equipment was also wrecked.

Despite the unfortunate incident, Hewitt added that the feedback from the community has been incredibly positive as the store cleans up from the B&E and prepares to reopen.

“We’ve just been inundated with calls from friends, customers, fellow business owners, everyone just offering help in one form or another,” said Hewitt. It’s kind-of reestablished our faith in humanity after having that stripped from us.”

Hewitt said the store’s owners should have an update on when they’ll reopen after the engineer’s assessment is complete.

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