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Bethnal Green’s favourite barista is back in business after a crowdfunding victory

By Rosie Hewitson

After a 15-month fight, Bethnal Green’s best-loved coffee vendor returns to business today, following a successful crowdfunding campaign which raised more than £10,000 to support his independent coffee stand.

Frank Wang had been selling coffee outside Bethnal Green tube station for nearly 20 years when he was forced to close his stand, following action to cut his electricity supply last April. But local residents and customers rallied in support of the much-loved business-owner, with more than 4,000 people signing a petition backing him, and 100 turning up to protest his eviction.

Having received public backing from prominent figures including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Bethnal Green MP Rushanara Ali and Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs, Frank was finally granted permission to remain outside the tube station earlier this year. But the fight wasn't over just yet. Faced with the closure of his business and the loss of his livelihood, Frank had had no choice but to sell his van and machinery during his hiatus from work, so his loyal customers launched a Crowdfunder to help him buy new equipment.

Thanks to donations from more than 300 supporters, £10,000 was raised to help Frank to purchase a brand new stand and coffee machine. Frank’s Coffee will finally reopen this afternoon, and his supporters and well-wishers are invited to join him outside Bethnal Green tube station and raise a flat white to toast his triumphant return.

Congrats, Frank! And here’s to many more years of ace coffee and sticking it to the man.

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