A MOSSLEY institution has fried its final fish and served one portion of chips for the final time after its owners retired following 31 years of service.Alan and Vivienne Firth hung up their aprons on Friday, June 7 after being the people behind the counter at popular chippy Alan and Viv’s since April 1988.
The 66-year-olds made use of their time by heading to the Channel Island of Guernsey for three weeks.
And there was one day when it hit home they were not working any more – Whit Friday.
However, the couple – who sold the business and took the traditional white and blue sign that had adorned the store at the bottom of Stamford Road, close to Mossley train station, for years with them – still have comfort from the bags of fond memories from their time there.
“We have all kinds of special memories,” Viv told the Correspondent as they prepared for an emotional final day.
“I can’t really pick one out above the others, there have been that many. Every day has been packed with them.
“A lot of our memories concerned Whit Friday, which was when we missed having the shop the most.
“Everyone would just come in for a brew and we always made sure we watched every Whit Friday – apart from this year’s as we were away!
“And it’s the people that made it so pleasurable.
“The time went really quickly but then again, so does life in general but when you get older it tends to speed up.
“The last 10 years flew by really fast. It’s been amazing but it feels like it’s been no time really, especially in the last few years.
“However, we didn’t see it as a job. The people who came in made sure we couldn’t, you could see that from all the cards we received before we retired.
“We’d have customers who would come in every week just for a brew and a chat and there are families who came in as kids and sat on the wall. Now their kids were coming in and sitting on the wall.
“We’ve seen people grow up but they always came in for some chips. They’d come in and say, ‘I remember when I was a kid,’ or, ‘I remember when I was little.’
Alan and Viv have already passed on the benefits of their expertise to new owners Claire and Amy, who will give the premises a new name – as the list of jobs written down in a little black book testified.
It is thought the entire building housing the chip shop, the Commercial pub and two units that have been empty for some time, will be renovated and revamped over the coming months.
And if the new owners stay as long as Alan and Viv did, expect a completely different business, as the now former shopkeepers found.
“During our time there, the biggest thing was that the mills closed down,” Viv added.
“We used to get large orders from them, massive ones from the likes of Milton, Ibex and Carr Hill.
“But now it’s more little orders from families as Mossley has become more residential, we still got a big order from Plevin every week.
“However, Mossley has become more of a residential town than a working town. Berendsen, what was known as Sunlight, was one of our customers.
“I don’t know what Claire and Amy, who both have experience in catering, are going to call the chippy but it definitely won’t be Alan and Viv’s.”
Now they are retired, Alan and Viv, who live on Richmond Crescent, can enjoy their own time and do whatever they want.
Alan is born and bred in Mossley but Viv actually hails from the Lancashire town of Hapton.
“First thing is we’re going to have a few weeks, which we’d already planned before selling the shop, in Guernsey, where we first met, and my sister Sharon lives in France,” Viv continued.
“We’re going to visit her a few times now we have the time on our hands!”