“Dear Springfield, you win, I’m done:” Springfield business owner fed up with repeated thefts

Springfield business owner closing doors after repeated thefts
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Chris Cox, owner of Springfield business The Bonsai Guy, posted on Facebook that he is closing his business due to repeated thefts.

In the post, he said, “Dear Springfield, you win. I’m done.” He returned from the weekend’s Japanese Fall Festival in Springfield and realized he was missing an estimated $6,000 worth of items. The items included bonsai trees and some irreplaceable mementos from lifelong friends and mentors.

“So once I got here, I started realizing that I was missing a lot of the small stuff, I had all the big trees, but I was missing a couple of really, really great small trees. Even though they’re small in stature, they are profound.”

Cox, better known in town as the Bonsai Guy, discovered his love of Bonsai trees after returning from his Afghanistan military service.

“It activates the same parts of your brain as meditation does,” said Cox. “So you’re not allowed to, you know, worry about the future or reminisce about the past because you are hyper-focused on the task at hand because you don’t want to make a mistake. I can absolutely say it saved my life.”

He decided to turn his passion into a business. It’s been around Springfield for almost a decade. But all of that is coming to an end, at least for the foreseeable future. He says he has already informed the City of Springfield that he will not be making more sales. He will still operate in the building for people to come in and ask questions on how to maintain their trees and hopes to one day open up shop again.

“I grew up in Nixa. I have certainly seen the changes in Springfield, especially the crime. I really hope that that gets turned around because this is a great city with wonderful people.” Cox said. “I know that just a few bad apples can ruin it for people and for right now. That’s exactly what’s happened for me.”

Springfield-Greene County Parks Board representative Jenny Edwards says the Bonsai Guy acted as an exhibitor, not a vendor. She says security was provided at the event. She says Cox did not contact Sister Cities to make arrangements to secure his property. She says his exhibit remained in the park unattended. She says a park ranger took a report of stolen items. But the park ranger has not received a list of specific items. Edwards says park rangers have not received any other theft reports from performers or vendors at the festival.

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