West Coast Natural Foods owner Karam Barzekar with money and food that will be donated to the Sooke Food Bank.

Sooke small business pays it forward after robbery

West Coast Natural Foods will donate the money to the Sooke Food Bank.

A small business in Sooke is paying it forward after it received money from a Good Samaritan following a robbery.

Now, West Coast Natural Foods will donate the money to the Sooke Food Bank.

West Coast Natural Foods was robbed of $200 worth of male-enhancment pills in September, something owners Karam Barzekar and Mary Rose say will take a long time to recover.

They’re not focusing on the negative though, because in an unusual twist, the two are taking $118 raised by a customer and matching it, along with food products, all which will go to the food bank.

“The idea was to pay us back for what we had lost, but after we received it, we figured we’ll donate that to the Sooke Food Bank, and turn a negative experience into something positive,” Barzekar said.

Rose said a customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, heard the news of the theft and decided to contact another health food shop in Sidney in hopes of raising money for the Sooke folks.

“We’re a small business … you have to sell a lot of product to get $200 worth back. That’s steep for us,” she said.

Still, paying it forward to the community is satisfying, and that while their store’s finances took a hit, their spirits remain strong.

“We want to thank the Sooke community for supporting us all these years, and for understanding us through a difficult time,” Barzekar said, adding that making a difference for those less fortunate this Christmas makes it worthwhile.

Despite an investigation by Sooke RCMP, the pill thief still remains elusive. He’s described as 20 to 30 years old, about six feet tall, medium build, short brown hair and facial hair. He was last seen wearing red and black running shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 250-642-5241 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.