Gosport shop owners hailed as local heroes as national award recognises family's hard work during pandemic
COMMUNITY spirit shown by a family-run Gosport business throughout lockdown has landed the owners with a national award.
Recognition has been given to Wych Lane Premier, which won the Local Hero Award at the Asian Trader Awards for its hard work handing out free home-cooked meals to those in need.
Owned by brothers Imtiyaz and Sohil Mamode, Wych Lane Premier has built up a good reputation in the area for giving back to the community.
Supriya Namdeo, who is married to Imtiyaz, cooked up free meals for up to 25 people each week during the height of lockdown.
Supriya, who was given access to the kitchen at nearby Carisbrooke Arms while it was closed, said: ‘I took the initiative to help the community of wonderful people who live in this area. When difficult times come, we prove we can help other people.
‘It was a family working for families and we were giving back to the community. We’re so thankful that we came here, we treat each and every customer like friends and family.
‘I believe it’s a community effort and we want the award to be full of joy for the community.’
The Local Hero Award comes alongside Wych Lane Premier also being recognised as one of the Independent Achievers Academy’s top 100 independent convenience shops.
Imtiyaz, who is over the moon with the recognition, said: ‘It feels really wonderful, it’s a really proud moment for us. It’s all community spirit. Winning the award feels really good, everyone is really happy, even the customers.
‘I feel really proud, it’s not just representing us, it’s representing Gosport as well.’
The small business continues to go from strength to strength since opening in 2019, when it won newcomer of the year at the Retail Industry Awards after six months of trading.
Recently, the store has gained huge recognition after a viral TikTok video showing the shop’s wares gained more than 1m views.
Customers are now visiting from far and wide to purchase some of the imported American products which Wych Lane Premier has become known for.
Imtiyaz said: ‘Now we get customers travelling four-hour drives.
‘We really focus on our community and never forget them because we wouldn’t be here without the community. It’s a really wonderful community.’