‘If you can visualise it will materialise’
‘Thinkers’ spend years coming up with this stuff, but to a man who’s truly made it happen, it was a slip of the tongue.
Sean Patel, owner and general friend of the neighbourhood is someone who really did see something and made it happen.
Born in Zambia to Indian parents, he moved to Peckham in 1989 after deciding a move to Canada wasn’t right for him or his future. ‘Peckham was really rough in those days’ he laughs, and I realise this is a stigma Peckham still has, holding it back from it’s real potential to shine as a great community.
Following the move to Peckham in the eighties, Sean and his brother excelled in making a living in the painting and decorating trade, something neither of them had any experience in, but with patience and an eye for perfection they managed to save £26,000 in the their first year of trade keeping overheads to a minimum sharing one small room.
They didn’t stop there, for some people the promise of that kind of money would have been enough but Sean and brother could see further than that, and so with a huge cut to his pay check, Sean worked for 8 months on £2 an hour in the local newsagent. It was learning the ins and outs that was more valuable than the money ever could be, Sean went onto borrow money from the bank to buy his first shop, the very shop he’d made £2 an hour in.
Fast forwarding 18 years, Sean now has a small Peckham based business empire including Money Gram and Café World. His friendly and open minded approach to business has attracted a longstanding group of regulars as well as people like me, who will venture up to the café for Peckhams finest Cappuccino (he also installed an internet café due to popular demand from the locals). With an inclusive approach to business Sean will be hosting the first SE Village community hub on the 2nd September.
This short story really doesn’t do Seans’ story justice, it cuts out all the intricacies of his hard working ethos, and family who have also worked incredibly long to realise the dream, but if are in need of a cappuccino perhaps you could venture up and listen to the modest Mr Patel tell you his story.