A SHOP owner is making an exit after almost 30 years to make way for a fish and chip shop to open a restaurant.
Sandy Tong has been in charge of women’s clothes store Dynasty, in Market Place, Market Deeping, for 29 years. But in April she will move out of her shop so that neighbouring fish and chip shop Linfords can expand and add a restaurant.
Mrs Tong, who came to England from Hong Kong with no experience of working in retail or running a business, said she was sad to be leaving but was proud of her shop’s success.
She said: “It has been a very happy 29 years and it will be very painful to make an exit. But I never thought running a little business could be as enjoyable as this.
“My customers have been so wonderful. They have become my friends. Not only have they supported the shop, they have been sharing their ups and downs with me as well.
“I want to thank them for making my shop such a success.”
Mrs Tong worked in television in Hong Kong and had no business training when she came to England.
She said: “I drove past the empty shop one day and thought ‘I am going to have a go’. I had no clue how to run a shop. I had never worked a day in a clothes shop before.
“But it has been a very happy place since day one and has been profitable since day one. It has been a miracle for me.
“I am making an exit with pride, joy and sadness. I will keep in touch with all my customers.”
Mrs Tong now plans to enjoy herself and have a break from work before deciding what to do next. She offered some advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business.
She said: “If I can do it everyone can do it. You just need the determination and don’t be afraid of hard work.”
Mrs Tong will make her exit from Dynasty on April 7 and Linfords will move in three days later.
Owner Paul Linford said a six-week programme of refurbishment was planned before the restaurant opens at the end of May, catering for about 30 people with a full menu and alcohol licence.
He said: “It was our dream to have a restaurant in Market Deeping and our dream has come true. It has been an ambition since we got here in 1989.”