A family-run chip shop has launched a delivery service to continue serving their community.
Shepherd Street Chippy is the oldest surviving chip shop in Biddulph, and has been run by the Hollies family for almost 10 years.
Since the UK lockdown began, the business has adapted to ensure they can continue to get fish and chips to their customers.
Clint Hollies, aged 55, from Knypersley, said: “Shirley and I had talked about opening a food business for years, as her background is in catering, but the planets never aligned.
“We had a mortgage and started a family, and we ended up having six daughters. It was never the right time.”
But in 2010 when the couple heard that Shepherd Street Chippy was closing, they thought it may be the right time to embark on their dream venture.
Clint added: “The owner of the chip shop wasn’t ready to sell at the time, but he called back four months later and asked if we were still interested. We said we were, and signed the paperwork on April 1, 2011. Then I wondered if it was an April Fool’s joke.
“The previous owners worked with us for a week when we opened in May 2011 to show us how everything works – and we’ve built the business from there.”
Clint, Shirley and their daughters have managed to keep the chip shop open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, as they all live in the same household.
Slowly but surely, some eateries across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire have been re-opening – albeit with new social distancing guidelines firmly in place.
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The dad-of-six said: “We decided to start the delivery service just before the official lockdown was announced. When the Government made the announcement, our footfall disappeared overnight.
“Chippies rely on people walking into the shop, so we needed to deliver to enable us to stay where other chip shops in the area decided to close. We aren’t on the High Street, so we have always strove for consistent quality and keeping our customers happy.”
And despite the added demand of delivering across the local area, the chip shop has extended their extensive menu, including home-cooked pies, popcorn chicken and donner meat wraps.
There are social distancing measures in place at the shop, with only two customers in at a time.
There is also an order and collect service, where customers can call to place an order, and receive a time slot to collect from outside the chip shop.
Clint’s wife, Shirley, 54, has worked in fine dining, as well as school catering before taking on the chippy.
She said: “A lot of our customers are elderly, so we had considered deliveries for a while, but this gave us a push to do it so that we could stay open.
“We are always finding better ways to work, and having the girls working for us has helped to keep us open. My daughters have all got a great work ethic.
“I love making homemade food, like the pies we sell, as it’s something a bit different to other chippies. We cook everything fresh to order – it’s hard work and stressful, but it’s worth it. We never leave fish in the cabinet, even in busy periods.
The couple’s eldest daughter, Melissa, has been working at Shepherd Street Chippy since they opened.
The 27-year-old said: “We’ve been so busy over the weekends, but we love it. We’ve increased the menu to offer more of a variety for our customers.
“It’s gone well and we’ve been lucky enough to stay open. It’s a valuable and appreciated service for local people.
“I’ve been managing the social media for the chippy and our customers are always really supportive.”