NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Neighbors in Crown Heights, Brooklyn are working hard to save a local hardware store.
For more than 20 years, Mohammed Kamara has opened American Star Hardware to the community. So when the neighborhood found out his landlord was selling the building and there was a strong possibility his store was facing eviction, they came together in a way they never saw coming.
“Well, first, tears came to my eyes,” Kamara said.
The shop owner had two options; buy the building from his former landlord or close up shop. He had an investor to purchase the building, but not the nearly $24,000 due to pay penalties and tax fines.
That is, until one couple came to the rescue. Alexander Chaparro and his girlfriend, Suzi Sadler, moved to the neighborhood three years ago but say they’re looking to preserve instead of gentrify it.
“I think it’s more important that you maintain the community that is there,” Sadler said. “That you don’t come in and change everything and you help support the people that have been here for multiple decades.”
The couple set up a GoFundMe page for Kamara. In about a month, community members and non-profits donated small and large amounts adding up to more money than was needed.
It was right in the nick of time — the deadline was Tuesday.
“It seemed kind of impossible to reach but we still set it there as the amount that we needed,” Chaparro said.
Neighbors are elated that Mohammed will remain in business, but nobody’s happier than the store owner himself.
“Black, white, red, pink, yellow, brown, we are all the children of God so when we function together we can make it together,” he said.