Strangers step up after business drops off for Shawnee owner - KCTV5

Strangers step up after business drops off for Shawnee owner

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SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

A Shawnee business owner, who feared he would have to file bankruptcy, said a local church saved his business one tank of gas at a time.

Construction made it difficult for drivers to pull into the Snack Shack Phillip 66.

Owner Mukhtar Raja said construction along Shawnee Mission Parkway closed roads that brought business into his store.

When he was fearing the worst, suddenly a certain type of customer started supporting the  mom-and-pop shop.

"When they started, they cut off our roads. This whole neighborhood can't even get to us. Man it just clobbered as far as business. I don't know exactly how much but it hurt," employee Edgar Kempf said.

The construction kept Raja up at night.

"The point came it was hard to pay the bills. It was really hard to pay the bills," Raja said.

In about five months, Raja estimates sales dropped by about $100,000.

"I was seriously, seriously considering filing Chapter 7," Raja said.

Then, as if someone answered his prayers, customers started to come.

David Jones, the pastor at Cross Points Church, asked his congregation to buy at least one tank of gas from Raja.

"I'm very, very thankful to them. Every one of them," Raja said.

Raja's employees say it was very touching.

"The first time they did, apparently they must have announced it right in church too, because church got out about 11:30 a.m.  I never have a rush on Sunday, but I had people out here waiting in line to get gas," Kempf said.

Raja said he has a lot of respect for the church, and the kind gesture brought both him and customers to tears.

"I'm very thankful to them. They basically woke me up ... that good people exist out there. They don't care what race you are ... what religion you are, and that is unforgettable," Raja said.

Members of the Cross Points Church said they are starting a new effort called "Connect, Commit, Create." The church will come together to help businesses in the Shawnee area.

Raja, who is from Pakistan, and his wife, who is from Ukraine, say they feel like they have family in the United States because of the outpouring of support they have received from the Shawnee community.

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