A New Leaf, Inc. reopens its garden center a week after devastating act of vandalism in Broken Arrow

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-10 19:46:55-04

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- The garden center run by A New Leaf, Inc. reopened this weekend, a week after someone broke in and caused more than $25,000 in damage.

The nonprofit held what it called a "recovery reopening sale" Saturday to welcome back customers after that devastating act of vandalism.

Kevin Harper, the business development and marking director for A New Leaf, said he did not expect to open back up this soon.

"We came in last Friday morning and saw that we had lost everything," Harper said. "We were devastated. Our clients were devastated. Some of them were in tears. I had no idea just a week later we could open in such an amazing way."

Signs throughout the garden center expressed thanks for the businesses and neighbors whose generous donations helped make sure that the shelves were restocked. An online fundraiser also brought in more than $13,000, a number that keeps climbing.

"Words can't describe how generous people have been, and we are so thankful," Harper said. "All the adults with disabilities and autism that we work with are so thankful."

Long lines formed early Saturday morning from customers, like Carrie Evatt, who wanted to support the nonprofit and the people employed by it.

"I just cried," Evatt said, sharing her reaction to the initial vandalism. "I cried because these workers work so hard on their plants, and they grow them and take pride in them. It was devastating for them to come into such a tragic event."

She said the wagon full of plants that she took home with her Saturday gave her a sense of satisfaction.

"I'm excited to see all these people out here shopping and supporting," Evatt said. "Hopefully, they get back some of the money that they lost."

The sale continues Sunday from noon to 5 p.m at the garden center, located at 2405 S. Elm Place in Broken Arrow.