OBERLIN, Ohio – “Shoplifters will be prosecuted.”
The sign that welcomes visitors to Gibson’s Bakery would not seem out of place at any small business, but of course it takes on a larger meaning in this context.
I traveled to the 137-year-old bakery in Oberlin, Ohio the first week of October. In many respects, the bakery is like any college town store – alcohol, wine bottles included, line the walls, along with Hamburger Helper meal kits, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items. It’s the sort of place Mom and Dad would stop in to grab junior a few missing items before college starts and fuel up on caffeine before a long drive home.
It also looks like a small-town bakery, with local newspapers for sale at the front, a single register and coffee and donuts to the left. Well, there’s no fancy coffee machines like at a Starbucks, just pots and brandless styrofoam and paper cups – the less branding, the better the coffee it seems. It’s the sort of place I’d go to if it was down the street, not five hours away from my home.
But of course, Gibson’s was also the target of a vicious cancel campaign by Oberlin College students and administrators – and the bakery won a $36 million judgment after years of legal battles stemming from the November 2016 wine theft incident.
My wife, 10-month-old and I grabbed one of the few places to sit – an outdoor glass table near the back of the store to munch on our donuts and sip our coffee (don’t worry the baby just drank decaf).
Working the front register was Lorna Gibson, the wife of the late David, and the mother of Allyn, the son who chased down three black shoplifters. Like a good mom, she even gave us tips on how to use a special, hard-to-find soap called Fels-Naptha, to remove poison ivy.
What does someone owed millions of dollars do? She works.
Because the company has lost customers and money due to the university-backed protests and the store is just barely hanging on at this point.
“If I got the money from the college, I wouldn’t buy a house, or go on vacation, or leave Ohio,” she wrote for Bari Weiss’ Common Sense blog in September. “I would replace the compressors for the refrigerators and replace the fryers and proofers that we use for our dough. I would pay off the mortgages on my properties that I’ve taken out in the past few years. I’d hire back employees and ramp up production.”
“While the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision has made us hopeful, if the money doesn’t come through within the next couple months, I’ll be forced to declare bankruptcy and shut the doors of Gibson’s for good,” she wrote.
For the sake of Gibson’s and the delicious doughnuts, let us all hope that does not happen.
MORE: College Fix finds nearly 200 campus cancel culture incidents in 2021-22 school year
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