A caring corner shop owner has been hailed as a ‘hero’ for the extra care he is showing his customers.
Thiraviyanathan Muralitharan – best known as Marc – runs the Allenby Late Shop in Ramsgate and has been going the extra mile to check on vulnerable and elderly customers.
The dad-of-two says he was prepared early for the coronavirus measures as his family live in France and are about two weeks ahead of the UK in the process.
The 39-year-old has made sure stock goes to those who need it, in the proportions they need, and has also been delivering to customers who can’t get to him.
Customer Mandy Blake Cairns said: “He is so committed to his customers, I’m now in two weeks of isolation due to being on immune suppressants and he has bent over backwards to help me and my elderly neighbour.
“He won’t shut his doors because he said he doesn’t want to let his customers down, he stands at the end of my neighbour’s path and talks to her from there and he truly is a hero and so are his staff.
“His customers really appreciate everything he does, not just now but all year round. He has helped so many people out round here, he even bought an outdoor light for my elderly neighbour and got someone to put it up for her. He went to Deal hospital to visit her when she had a really bad fall and she knitted him a jumper to thank him.
“He really does go above and beyond for his community.”
Marc says he has put in place many health safety measures and has tried to explain to customers about the virus and the need to not panic buy.
He said: “With the help of my staff Alison Budge and Asnil and Charley, we started to limit the products like milk, bread, toilet rolls and pasta and others groceries to one per customer per day and also with medicines.
“We even explained to the customers the situation and told them it’s not necessary to panic buy. We offer the maximum support we can, make sure our regular elderly and disabled customers are getting essentials like milk, bread and potatoes.
“We haven’t served people trying to panic buy as we know all our customers and their financial situations and have many who cannot bulk buy because they are on benefits or pensions.
“We know if there are just two in the house or whether there is a family with eight children so know what people need. We are making sure everyone gets paracetamol and parents can get Calpol, telling customers there is no point in them having cupboards full of medicine if other children or elderly people can’t get anything.
“We also explain to our customers about the virus and how this can spread and we tell them to wash their hands when they get home and also clean the door handles. Some customers laughed and said they are healthy but we told them you can be a carrier.
“We make sure the shop is clean and we wear gloves and masks, I even wear goggles.
“I do this because in this difficult time I don’t want to let down my local customers who have given me business for 10 years.
“ I work like everyone to bring the necessities to my children and I also don’t want to let down my staff who have children to look after as well.”
Marc says despite Bookers being cleared out by panic buyers he has stock and nearly all is price marked so there are no hikes. He added that shop owners are working together to share stock and make sure people in need can get supplies.