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It would be hard to know how many tonnes of chips She Chun Choie and his wife Emma have sold during their 36 years at Big Valley Takeaways.
Since buying the business "36 years and one month ago", the Choies have provided tasty takeaways to a regular stream of appreciative customers who rate Big Valley’s meals "the best in Dunedin".
Colin, a regular customer for 11 years, was at Big Valley at lunchtime yesterday to collect a lunch order for his workmates. He reckoned Mr and Mrs Choie made "a good meal".
His favourite was their chicken burger.
"You just can’t beat it," he said.
Jamie, a five-year, once or twice a week customer, liked not only what he rated "the best fish and chips in Dunedin" but the fact Mr and Mrs Choie "always remember the regulars. That keeps you coming back."
"You’re not allowed to retire," Peter joked to Mr and Mrs Choie as the couple effortlessly moved around each other, filling lunch orders for their regular customers.
But the couple have decided 36 years of hard work and long hours is enough, and the new owners of the busy takeaway business take over next Wednesday.
They are sad to be leaving and will miss all the customers they have come to know over the years.
But Mr Choie said it was hard work running a seven-days-a-week takeaway business - work which he and his wife had mostly done on their own, although they now had a part-time assistant.
"We are both getting getting older," he said - although declining to be specific about how old - so they had decided it was time to sell.
What they had enjoyed most about their business was the customers, Mr Choie said.
They knew their regulars by name, always talked with them and regarded them as friends.
"We’ve seen the young ones grow up and now we see some bringing their children to our shop."