A 21-year-old woman forced cowered in fear under a counter as four people, brandishing an array of weapons, robbed her parents' Taradale dairy.
At 7pm on Sunday, four people entered the Bellevue Dairy on Gloucester St, armed with knives, metal bars and a hockey stick.
"They came through the front and told us to get down. My dad was rushing me to go to him but one of the guys was standing over me," said Ritisha Patel, who was still traumatised from the event.
"When the opportunity opened up, I just ran to the back. Everything was just a rush - it happened so quickly."
Her father, dairy co-owner Vilash Patel, recalled the offenders shouting: "We came to rob ... We won't hit you, just stand in the corner."
He was walking between the shop floor and the storeroom filling the lolly containers when the incident happend.
"I was really scared. They started smashing the place and putting all the smokes in bags. Suddenly the cabinet was all gone."
He and his wife, Kirti, have owned various dairies for the past 26 years and had never been robbed.
Vilash Patel believed the robbers took more than $25,000 worth of tobacco and cigarettes from the Napier dairy.
Kirti Patel was at home cooking dinner when her daughter rang to say they had been robbed.
"I just came from home and by that time the police were already there," she said.
"It's a busy shop - people come in and out but it was raining so it became a little bit quieter. I think they were waiting outside until no [customers] were in."
She suggested the increased price of cigarettes was causing more dairy robberies.
However, selling cigarettes was their livelihood. "We have to, otherwise nobody comes into the shop," she said.
A police spokeswoman said the four offenders were heavily disguised and stole a substantial amount of cigarettes and tobacco.
"The offenders are thought to be aged between 18 and 25 years old and left the scene in an older-model, red Ford Falcon driving south towards EIT [Eastern Institute of Technology]."
Anyone with information was urged to contact Hawke's Bay Police on (06) 831 0700 and ask for Detective Sergeant Craig Vining or Detective Hamish Urquhart. Information could also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.