A Cregagh kebab shop owner has been overwhelmed by the support of his neighbours – and business competitors – since his premises was trashed last week.
David Booth’s business, Bodrum Pizzar on the Cregagh Road, was wrecked during the break-in. “We got broken into in the early hours of Tuesday morning and money was taken from the till and various pieces of equipment were stolen.
“The individuals then trashed the place. I had two foot long stick blenders and they used them like baseball bats and beat the living daylights out of the equipment.”
David says he stopped totting up the cost of the damage once he reached £16,000 although his insurance company will cover the loss.
“But what has really stopped him in his tracks is the response of neighbours and the rest of the business community to his plight.
A fireman for 29 years, David only opened the Bodrum Pizzar shop after his plans to emigrate to America fell through — and after just nine months in business, he has been made to feel very much part of the community.
“I have to thank the people and the neighbours and shopkeepers who have been fantastic.
“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing with offers of help and people who want to lend me equipment,” he told the CT.
Even this week, he was waiting to meet the insurance assessor and one neighbour came down with coffee while another business person turned up to offer to help.
So overwhelming has been the response that David expects to be able to reopen this week using equipment lent by other fast food retailers as it will take up to a month for his new machines to arrive.
“The Turkish and Pakistani communities have offered to lend me equipment. The Bengal Tandoori opened a couple of months ago across the road and they have lent me stick blenders.”
The job involves long hours – David’s shop is open until 5am at weekends — yet that has not stopped people rolling up their sleeves to help. “On Tuesday when we found out at it at about 10.30am, about 2pm these fellas from Glengormley came down to clean the place up.
“Another man from Aisha Tandoori in Newtownards came up after work at midnight and was helping us clear up until 2am. All they want in return is a cup of tea. They’re working all the hours themselves.”
David said his staff were also fantastic. “They are the main reason I want to get up and running again quickly. They work incredibly hard. They’re brilliant.”