A popular Bethnal Green coffee vendor is back in business with a new stall outside the Tube station after locals crowdfunded £10,000 to help him out.
Wang was forced to close down his 15-year-old business in April last year following a safety issue with the power supply and had to sell his coffee stall and equipment to survive. He reopened in late June thanks to money raised through the #SaveFrank social media campaign.
Wang told Eastlondonlines: “I am overwhelmed by the community response and all my regular customers are back to get their usual coffee.”
The #SaveFrank social media campaign was joined by 6,000 people who signed a petition, supported by prominent public figures including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Bethnal Green MP Rushanara Ali and Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs and by local organisations including Operation Black Vote and The Young Foundation.
Radhika Bynon, Director of Programmes at The Young Foundation, said to Eastlondonlines: “We are really delighted to see Frank back. His coffee stall has been there for such a long time – it’s a real local institution – and we were all very concerned that he was not able to operate for all these months. Frank is more than a coffee-seller, he is a key member of our community.”
She added: “We all saw Frank being kind to Eddie, a local man who had become homeless and always stationed himself next to the coffee cart. Frank looked out for Eddie, especially in the winter. Lots of people have stories of Frank’s kindness. So, it’s not at all surprising that when he hit difficult times, the community came out in force to support him. And its brilliant that he is now back, where he belongs. Bethnal Green has not the same without him.”
During the relaunch of his business, father-of-two Wang said: “I cannot thank the supporters and local community enough. You saved me and brought me back to the place that I love, where I’ve worked for so many years. I will be forever gratefully for your kindness and generosity.”
Speaking to Eastlondonlines, he said: “The business has been good during the week, but I am still waiting for the electricity to be reconnected. I am operating using temporarily a gas supply which does not last long. I am expecting the connection to be made soon.”