MISSISSAUGA — At daybreak last Tuesday, someone looted the family-owned appliance store WOW Liquidation, resulting in a $3000 inventory loss as well as hefty repair expenses. After the incident gained traction on social media, community members established an online fundraiser to alleviate store owner Kenny Joseph’s financial burden caused by the incident.
“We are asking our community to help him during this Christmas season as it’s a time for spreading joy and giving,” the fundraiser reads. “So let’s give Kenny a hand [to get him back] on his feet as he has done for many of us in the past. “
With a donation target of $10,000, the funds will be put toward the stolen merchandise, window replacement costs, more robust security, and the increased insurance premium incurred from the break-in. According to the fundraiser, Joseph has been mired in financial difficulties since the pandemic — a struggle made more difficult by the months of mandatory closure of his store.
The campaign was set up by Joseph’s long-time friend Roy Sookraj on behalf of the community that has dubbed itself “Kenny’s Supporters.” Over the phone, he said that he launched the fundraiser as a “surprise” for Joseph, whom he has known for over 25 years.
The fundraiser was indeed a surprise to Joseph and his family.
“I am so thankful for the community support,” Joseph told INN24 via the phone. “I’m grateful that the community came together because we’re all in this together.”
The Josephs weren’t inclined to launch their own fundraiser, knowing the financial strain everyone is under due to the pandemic. Sookraj, however, took it upon himself to help a beleaguered friend.
“The least I could do was try to help them out,” said Sookraj, who is also in the business of household appliances. “Imagine yourself in the same situation: you’d want someone to lend a helping hand too.”
He attested to his friend’s charitable character, saying that Joseph “gives more than he receives.”
“Kenny has always been a cheerful giver. If you ask him for something, he’ll do it for you.”
Since the burglary went viral, nearby community members patronized WOW Liquidation in support of the Joseph family (PHOTO: WOW Liquidation)
Joseph’s son, Kevin, who had first brought the break-in to online prominence, expressed heartfelt gratitude to the local community for mobilizing help for his father during a time of universal adversity.
“It’s hard for everybody, but there are lots of people who reached out and want to help — some public figures as well,” he said over the phone.
Yesterday, Kevin Joseph posted a video on Twitter of himself and his father thanking his followers for the solidarity and assistance they have lent his family.
“Thank you to those that shared this story, making it go viral and raising awareness about small businesses,” said Kevin Joseph, carrying his son Micah in his arms.
Thank YOU! Twitter Fam for the amazing support you have given to my Dad after the horrible break-In/theft at his store. Thank you to @LeoRautins @TaraSlone @KWOK_ROCK & many others for sharing. Thank you @innernetnews24 @blogTO @cbcradio for covering this. We appreciate y’all! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/y1EiEImlZG— Kevin Joseph (@kevjoseph_) December 20, 2020
The son also thanked local celebrities — including sports analyst Leo Rautins, singer Tara Slone, and actor Patrick Kwok-Choon, among others — who had used their platforms to propagate the story.
The older Joseph has been in Canada for 40 years and has been an entrepreneur for over 30, investing all his life savings to open WOW Liquidation in 2017. According to Kevin Joseph, many community members living in the vicinity have directly supported the business since their story went viral.
“He’s given a lot to the country, so it’s great to see he has a support system here,” his son told us.
“It’s a nice story around Christmas time. Good people are still out there, and they outnumber those with bad intentions.”
WOW Liquidation is now fully repaired and continues to offer curbside pick-up, but the business has been slow, according to Joseph. “It’s a fight,” the lifelong entrepreneur said about the reduced customer traffic since lockdown.
The Josephs are looking to install robust security apparatus in light of the extended lockdown and the heightened risk of attacks similar to the one last week, Kevin Joseph said.
Nonetheless, his father’s mettle remains steadfast throughout obstacles created by the robbery and prolonged lockdown. Before Friday’s extension announcement by the Ford government, he had planned to reopen the store today.
“I don’t let these things get me down,” Joseph said. “I always believe that what you give, you get back.
If you do positive things, it will come back to you. It might not be now, but somewhere down the line, it comes back.”
The WOW Liquidation eCommerce site will be live in early January 2021.
On December 15, INN24 had covered the break-in and burglary at WOW Liquidation.
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