Tawa’s Chins re­tir­ing – ‘It’s 13 years over­due’

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

An era comes to a close this week­end as Tawa Fruit Mart’s Chin fam­ily farewell the busi­ness af­ter 31 years.

Kim Chee Chin, known as Chee, and his wife Zia Kuen Chin, known as Jean, have de­cided at the ages of 78 and 76 to sell the busi­ness they opened in Novem­ber 1981.

‘‘Our re­tire­ment has noth­ing to do with the busi­ness, it’s our age,’’ Mr Chin says. ‘‘It’s 13 years over­due.’’

The cou­ple still reg­u­larly haul 18 kilo­gram boxes of pro­duce around the shop, and put their spright­li­ness down to eat­ing veg­eta­bles at ev­ery meal.

The Chin fam­ily – Jean and Chee and their eight chil­dren – are a main­stay of Tawa’s Main Rd, with a slew of reg­u­lars who visit four times a week.

‘‘We know so many peo­ple, so many cus­tomers. When we go out on the street we know ev­ery­body. Ev­ery­body’s so nice,’’ Mr Chin says.

The gro­cery busi­ness is a real fam­ily af­fair. The Chin chil­dren grew up in the shop, sleep­ing out back in the stor­age room as ba­bies, then help­ing out af­ter school and at week­ends. At Christ­mas time the 10-strong fam­ily would man all decks to deal with the hol­i­day rush. Son Ming still works at the shop full-time, and his broth­ers and sis­ters will re­turn to work in the shop one last time this Satur­day.

Af­ter im­mi­grat­ing from south­ern China in 1957, Mr and Mrs Chin worked at Mr Chin’s par­ents’ fruit shop in Mi­ra­mar be­fore open­ing their own shop in Ngaio in 1971. Short on space, they re­lo­cated to Tawa a decade later.

The cou­ple hasn’t thought too much about how they’ll spend their re­tire­ment, be­yond a visit to their home­town of Tais­han. ‘‘We’ve got plenty of time to think about it,’’ Mr Chin says.

Mov­ing on: Tawa Fruit Mart’s Chee Chin, Jean Chin and son Ming Chin are mov­ing on af­ter 31 years in busi­ness on Main Rd.

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