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Community helps to raise cash for business affected by road works

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 May 2019

Jeff Levi and Andrea Jaye own the Number 8 Emporium in Forest Gate which features a number of traders renting space to sell their wares.

Jeff Levi and Andrea Jaye own the Number 8 Emporium in Forest Gate which features a number of traders renting space to sell their wares.

Archant

More than £2,000 has been raised to save an independent business in Forest Gate hit by months of road works.

Jeff Levi and Andrea Jaye own the Number 8 Emporium in Forest Gate which features a number of traders renting space to sell their wares.Jeff Levi and Andrea Jaye own the Number 8 Emporium in Forest Gate which features a number of traders renting space to sell their wares.

Owner of the Number 8 Emporium Jeff Levy, who runs it with his partner Andrea Jaye, said they've been dealing with restricted access since last August, when works left only two and a half feet of pavement outside the business.

It's not just their fate that's tied up with the Emporium. At least 18 other local trades' people sell their wares in the store.

"We lost trade. It just seemed to go on and on," Mr Levy said.

"It's got to the stage where we just can't keep going and I can't keep putting my hand in my pocket to keep paying for the shop."

Jeff outside the Number 8 Emporium at the height of the road works in October 2018. Picture: Andrea Jaye.Jeff outside the Number 8 Emporium at the height of the road works in October 2018. Picture: Andrea Jaye.

The road works last year meant that profit from the usually lucrative run-up to Christmas was dented.

That period is what sees the business through drier times and now Mr Levy says that reserve has dried up.

It's the first time in the six years he's been running the shop that he's had to ask for help.

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"It feels pretty sickening, because I'm open seven-days-a-week, I'm here seven-days-a-week. It's me that has built a business and kept it going. I feel that we've been let-down."

The works are being carried out by Newham Council to improve roads and pavements ahead of the launch of Crossrail.

"How can they expect small businesses like me and my neighbours to ride through?"

The push to keep the shop afloat isn't only for the sake of preserving a local high street. It can provide a safe space for people who need it.

"The importance is that people know this is a safe place. All the kids know who I am.

"We always try and look after the people that are vulnerable in the area. We try to support the community the best we can."

A Newham Council spokesman said access to the Emporium and other businesses is the area is being maintained during the works, but that most of it was completed in April this year.

He also insisted that disruption has been minimised and that, though they haven't received complaints, council officers will be talking to Mr Levy about his concerns.

Donations to the shop can be sent here.

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