FIRE destroyed a popular local shop in Como last year and owner Gautam ‘Gem’ Gautam is now calling on community members to help him bring Busy Bee Deli back.
In October last year, a fire engulfed a commercial space on Barker Avenue.
The flames spread to the Busy Bee Deli, destroying equipment and stock, and forcing it to close down.
“This fire not only destroyed my dreams for a better future but it robbed me of the fruit of my hard labour,” Mr Gautam said.
“It’s deprived me of the ability to provide for my family of six.”
Mr Gautam had bought Busy Bee Deli in May 2014 and soon developed strong relationships with his customers.
“When I took over, customers noticed a lot of positive changes; the products became more relevant to the needs of clients and there was also a noticeable change in attitude,” he said.
“We gradually renovated the shop and turned it into a mini-supermarket.”
Mr Gautam said he had invested all his savings into buying, renovating and stocking the shop.
“All my profits were also invested, so the deli was only insured for $30,000, which is $150,000 less than what it’s worth,” he said.
“I’m aiming to raise the $150,000 of damage in stock and fittings, plus another $50,000 for loss of profit since the fire.”
South Perth MLA John McGrath said he wanted to see Mr Gautam given the opportunity to reopen the shop as soon as possible.
“It’s hard not to feel for Gem and his wife Rose, who’ve lost their business through no fault of their own,” he said.
“They worked very hard to build the business and the fire took away their livelihood just when it had begun to thrive.”
Mr Gautam said he hoped the funds would help restore the Busy Bee Deli to the standard it was before the fire.
For more details or to make a donation, visit www.busybeedeli.com.au.