Tributes have been paid to a ‘kind hearted and selfless’ shop owner who spent many years trading in Crawley town centre.
Karim Noormohamed, know as Googie, ran popular family businesses Mabu Leather, in The Broadway, for many years.
He died at his home in Eastbourne last week at the age of 57.
Paying tribute his family said: “We are saddened and shocked by the sudden death of 57-year-old Googie. He was known and loved by so many.
“Googie was truly a kind hearted and selfless soul, he only ever thought of others and put his family before himself on every occasion.
“He never married and had no children as he dedicated his life to the business and setting up a future for his brother’s children.
“He was at everyone’s beck and call and never said no to anyone in need.”
Googie founded Mabu Leather with his brothers Mehboob and Azim.
The trio started trading at markets across the county including Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Crawley, Eastbourne, and Brighton before opening a store in Swan Walk, Horsham.
They were one of the first traders in the shopping centre and spent more than 20 years in the town before expanding to Crawley, opening several shops over the years in Ifield Road, County Mall and most recently The Broadway store.
“Googie was an integral part of getting Mabu Leathers to where it is today, and his brothers are eternally grateful,” the family said.
“Googie was an eccentric soul, and the family have many stories about his mannerisms and general persona.
“He was well remembered for that infamous walk, he often walked looking at the floor with his hands behind his back, and they would jest with him about how surprised they were that he hadn’t walked into anything, as how could he possibly see where he was going?!
“He wore his long hair with pride, always brushed and tied neatly in a pony tail at the base of his head even when there was very little left on the top.”
He leaves behind his mother, four brothers, two sisters, four nephews, seven nieces, three great nieces, two great nephews.
Despite the fact Googie never had any children of his own the family explained there was one member of staff who became ‘like a daughter to him’.
“Googie employed a Saturday girl to work for him in the early years of Swan Walk,” the family said. “He truly took her under his wing when he supported her with her school work and through her later education.
“He financially helped her through university and in return he was the guest of honour at her wedding last year. The family think upon her as his surrogate daughter, they have welcomed her into the family as their own.”
The family is inviting those who wish to celebrate Googie’s life to an open house today (Thursday May 4).
Those wishing to pay their respects can attend 46 Langley Drive, Langley Green, from 4pm.
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