PORTLAND, Ore. — A small business in Portland was burglarized twice on Christmas, its second and third burglary since November.
Twenty years ago, Kori Giudici was in medical school. She needed some extra income to help pay her rent, which is how her business Flipside Hats was born.
“My first hat was made from velvet drapes," Giudici said. "I made this amazing reversible hat which is where the name Flipside came from, and gave it to a friend and everyone liked it. So then I started making these hats and selling them in the hallway at school."
Today, she co-owns the shop with her husband Jacob Wollner. At the start of the pandemic, they paused production of their handcrafted hats and focused all their attention on making masks. Giudici said at one point they were making 2,500 masks a day and in all donated $80,000 worth of masks.
“I'm a firm believer in the idea that life is happening for us instead of to us," she said. "So even when it's something seemingly difficult, there's something to be learned and growth to be had there. So finding the meaning in that right now is also challenging, but we're working on it.”
Sharing with the community has become what Flipside Hats is all about, but not what happened early on Christmas day. Giudici and Wollner got a call from police just as their son Moses was presenting them with his handmade gifts. Flipside had been burglarized around 4:30 a.m. and again by a different individual around 7:00 a.m., the alarm never went off. It was already their second break-in since opening the storefront in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood in November.
“In November, it was actually a lot more shocking because it was the first time that it happened,” said Giudici. “This last time, they didn't go for the computer. They didn't go for the cash till, which had money. They went for the hat. I was like, ‘Jake, I've made it as a designer. I totally made it!’”
Giudici’s positivity is genuine. Sure, it happened on Christmas, she’s celebrating what’s important. Her son Moses even had some good perspective.
“He said, ‘You know, Mom, I thought Christmas was going to be ruined, but we're like the Whos in Whoville and those people were the Grinch,’” Giudici said.
She admits it’s been tough being a small business in Portland, hoping the community and the city alike see how important shops like her are to the fabric of the neighborhood. “I feel like if the city doesn't support the small businesses, then we're going to lose what makes Portland so unique and so desirable and interesting,” she said. “We just have to count our blessings. We focus on the positive and we're all healthy, and we'll survive.”