Gautam ‘Gem’ Gautam bought the Busy Bee Deli on 9th May, 2014. He gradually renovated the shop and turned it into a popular mini-supermarket. Neighbours increasingly popped by to pick up items that they urgently needed, such as bottle of milk, a loaf of bread, a pack of coffee or a light bulb.
Customers also noticed the beautiful smell of freshly roasted coffee and yummy food. Gem turned out to be an excellent barista and his wife Rose a fabulous cook. Best of all, the shop was located right next door. Plus, it was open seven days a week, from 5 am to 8 pm, and there was always Gem and Rose there to serve clients with a smile.
Within three months turnover doubled. Within a year, it even quadrupled and kept growing every month. Customers were happy and kept coming back. Some of them even suggested that Gem extended, by renting the shop next door. Gem and Rose could see how their hard work was starting to pay off, until, one day, their dreams went up in flames.
The night of Tuesday, 13 October 2015, Gem left the shop as per usual, at around 8:10 pm. 3 hours later, Gem received a phone call on his mobile from a regular customer who lives next door to the shop. He was crying and told Gem that the whole shopping strip was on fire. “Come quick, come quick,” he said. Gem rushed to the shop, which was only a few hundred meters away from his home.
When he arrived, he saw six fire trucks and 25 firefighters fighting the flames that were 7 to 8 meters high. The fire had started in the Lebanese barbers’ shop next door. It spread quickly to the ‘Busy Bee Deli’ and destroyed equipment and stock. Arson experts from the police examining the incident soon established that the fire has been deliberately lit at the shop next to Gem’s.
This fire not only destroyed Gem’s dreams for a better future. This crime robbed him of the fruit of his hard labor and deprived him of the ability to provide for his family of six.
The local MLA, who took a strong interest, said that there was no public funding for cases like this. Arson attack victims rely solely on insurance and charity.
Gem, who had invested all his savings in buying, renovating and stocking his shop, and had reinvested all profits ever since, was only insured for a mere $30,000, the maximum any Australian insurance company would cover him for, based on the size of his shop. That was at least $150,000 less than what it was worth.
The MLA suggested crowd funding due to the strong community support for the Busy Bee. Due to the urging of their customers not to give up, Gem is aiming to raise the 150,000 of damage – after insurance – in stock and fittings, plus another 50,000 for loss of gross profit since the fire broke out. The funds are intended to make the Busy Bee Deli rise from the ashes like a phoenix, even bigger and better this time.
Gem and Rose cannot wait to get back to serving their community. They know exactly how much their community is missing them. They still receive emails, almost daily, from customers who wish back their friendly service and their happy smiles.
Gem and Rose miss the office girls picking up their healthy snacks. They miss the social interactions with the people from the neighborhood and their gratefulness for the convenience they provide.
For more information, donations big or small see Gem’s new website: http://www.busybeedeli.com.au.
A noble cause
Busy Bee Deli Bushfire Relief Fundraiser Update
When Gautam Gautam learned about the WA bushfires on 7th January, 2016, the owner of the Como Busy Bee Deli immediately had an idea how he could assist the hundreds of people who lost their homes. Having lost, three months earlier, his convenience store to an arson attack, he could very well relate to the victims and came up with a great idea. He has a whole cold storage room full of drinks that he kept for when his shop reopens. Instead, he is now giving them away to parents and children, in return for donations to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund.
So, the members of the Busy Bee Deli Bushfire Relief Team have been busy fundraising in Neil McDougall Park, located in Perth’s leafy suburb of Como. The Busy Bee Deli Fire Appeal drink stall will continue to open on Saturdays and Sundays in Neil McDougall Park all the way through to the end of March from 10 am to 4 pm until $10,000 worth of drinks is turned into $2 coin donations in support of the victims of the January 7 bushfires. Find out more at: http://www.busybeedeli.com.au/.