A Kew shopkeeper has received an outpouring of support from the community after a customer promoted his struggling business online.  

For the past three years, Asif Virani has supplied people passing through Kew Gardens Station with coffee, newspapers, and his wife’s homemade Indian food. 

But over lockdown, Mr Virani’s business took a hit, as fewer travellers caused a dramatic decline in sales. 

Hearing that the shopkeeper was working seven days a week, yet finding it difficult to support his young family, a customer decided to lend a hand. 

Mike Jones posted on a neighborhood social media account, asking locals to purchase coffee from Mr Virani, rather than popular chains. 

“Before lockdown, I was regularly buying coffee from Asif's shop in the station on my morning commute. I popped in last week and he mentioned how quiet it had been recently because of people working from home and less tourists coming to Kew Gardens - he didn't seem his usual cheerful self.”

“It made me feel terrible that small business owners like Asif are struggling so much at the moment when many others in the community, like myself, have been largely unscathed financially by the pandemic.” 

“I decided to post on NextDoor to shine a light on the shop and the response has been amazing. People have commented that he has been selling out of his homemade samosas and Biryanis in the last couple of days,” he said. 

And after receiving overwhelming support from the community, Mr Jones has set up a crowdfunding page, to recoup some of the shop’s revenue that was lost over the pandemic. 

People have chipped in for a “Christmas bonus” for Mr Virani, in a gesture of solidarity with local businesses.

Mr Virani said he was “shocked” and “touched” by the increase in customers. 

“I had no idea this was happening and suddenly there were all these new faces in my shop, asking me how I was doing. 

“I want to thank all of the community members, they do everything for you. It’s lovely here in Kew; like a family. I feel truly honoured,” said the shopkeeper. 

You can support Asif's shop here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/asif-kew-gardens-station-shop