Community Continues to Rally to Save NY Mom-and-Pop Shop
Avi Gandhi says he still believes in miracles, even though he may have to close his mom-and-pop shop in Levittown, New York, despite efforts by his community to save the 10-year-old business.
"The economy is hurting me," said Gandhi, 63. "I don't know what is going to happen. … It is that bad. Business has gone down 75 percent in the last five years."
When Craig and Celeste Hamilton Dennis, Gandhi's friends and store customers, heard earlier this year that he might close Center Lane Stationery next year, they didn't take it sitting down.
"I just said it, I was like 'Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we got all these people to come here, to come and clear the shelves?'" Craig Dennis said in short film posted on YouTube called "Cash Mob for Avi."
So in June, the Dennises organized - with the help of friends, Levittown residents and others who joined their campaign via YouTube and Facebook - a surprise "cash mob" for Gandhi and his wife, Bharati Gandhi.
The filmmakers behind "Cash Mob for Avi" - Liz Morrison, Katherine Rodriquez and Mike Sayre - captured the scene.
The Gandhis were flooded with customers buying up all the merchandise in their store and purchasing lottery tickets.
Avi Gandhi said today that he couldn't believe it when the cash mob occurred.
"The last few years, [I] never seen more than three or four persons in my store," he said. "I said, 'This is something not right.' … The people in Levittown are so loving. They care for each other. They care for their neighbor. And they care for everybody. I felt that feeling so deep in my heart."
Celeste Hamilton Dennis said Avi Gandhi simply made everyone who entered his store "feel like they matter."
"He has just given us so much that we really just felt like this could be pretty easy to do," Celeste Hamilton Dennis said.
The Dennises also put up a Fundly site with a goal of $15,000.
For information on the campaign, click here.
Avi Gandhi told ABC News today that his store was still not out of woods despite the Fundly donations and cash mob.
"I don't see any future but I still believe in miracles," he said. "I'm counting on miracles."