Hastings’ business community has come together to extend a welcome to the new owner of Hastings Pier Sheikh Abid Gulzar and in a very tangible way.
A banner has been put up on the railings at the front of the pier carrying the logos of 27 businesses, including Hastings In Focus, under the headline: “Hastings Business Owners Welcome Sheikh Abid Gulzar, Hastings Pier’s New Owner”. The banner was the brainchild of Steve Taylor from Primesigns who says he was driven to act after watching how Mr Gulzar was treated on the day he bought the pier by what Steve believes is an unrepresentative group of people.
Speaking this week Steve, who knows Mr Gulzar and his businesses well having carried out work for them since 2009, said he had been ‘disgusted’ by the behaviour of the Friends of Hastings Pier (FoHP) when they ambushed Mr Gulzar at the gates of the pier on the day he had been announced as the new owner.
“I watched the video of what happened on Facebook and how they behaved and I thought ‘those people don’t represent me and they don’t represent the people who I know’ so I came up with the idea of making the banner to demonstrate the support there is for Mr Gulzar’s ownership,” says Steve
He posted his idea on social media and within only a few hours more than 120 local businesses had been in touch to ask to have their logo included on the banner.
“I was just blown away,” says Steve, “it was amazing, I just couldn’t fit everyone’s logo on so in the end it was first come first served but I’m pleased with the result and I’m pleased that we have been able to show there is a lot of support in the community for Mr Gulzar and his team.
“The banner represents a business community that is happy to see the pier in private hands because in private hands it stands a better chance of being successful than if it was being run by a charity or a community group. That route was tried and look what a spectacular failure it was. Mr Gulzar has a proven track record of running successful businesses and deserves the town’s support for having the courage to take on the pier, I know he has some great ideas.”
Mr Gulzar said he was grateful for the support being shown by the business community and says that since the pier reopened on Monday he has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of people who have gone out of their way to come to meet him and to offer their best wishes for the future. He already has firm ideas about the additional structures that will be needed to generate the revenues required to make Hastings Pier commercially viable and he is confident that work to have those new structures in place can begin very quickly.