Yorkshire couple quit world of finance for frying

The career swap has been so successful that the couple has since opened a second fish and chip restaurant, Knights of Pontefract.
The career swap has been so successful that the couple has since opened a second fish and chip restaurant, Knights of Pontefract.
Promoted by Ernest Wilson

A couple did the maths and swapped careers in banking and insurance to cook some of the nation’s best fish and chips.

Yorkshire husband and wife Steve and Jenny Knight decided to embark on a radical career change three years ago when they took over what was a ‘down on its luck’ fish and chip shop in Selby.

The Selby chippy was in needed of a major revamp, and the couple invested in a complete refurbishment including a whole new cooking range.

The Selby chippy was in needed of a major revamp, and the couple invested in a complete refurbishment including a whole new cooking range.

Since then they’ve transformed its fortunes, and turned Abbey Fisheries at 61 Gowthorpe, into one of the UK’s top 60 fish and chip takeaways.

The career swap has been so successful that the couple has since opened a second fish and chip restaurant, Knights of Pontefract. It has also received rave reviews from regulars.

Steve said he and his wife decided to turn their backs on the world of finance and insurance so they could be their own bosses and test their own business skills.

“Jenny wasn’t really enjoying working in banking any more and wanted a career change, while my job took me to London four days a week.

“We always fancied working together, and decided it was time to give ourselves a bit of a challenge and take on a business of our own,” he said.

“We saw Abbey Fisheries was on the market and decided to give it a go.”

The Selby chippy was in needed of a major revamp, and the couple invested in a complete refurbishment including a whole new cooking range. They also decided to introduce high quality produce which meets modern demands for sustainability and traceability.

As a result, Abbey Fisheries has scooped a string of rave reviews, including earning a coveted place in the Top 60 takeaways in the Fish and Chip Awards, as well as being currently shortlisted as a finalist in the Minster FM Listener Choice Award for Best Fish and Chip Shop.

Steve added: “I’d worked in insurance for 20 years and for a lot of that time I was away from home.

“Jenny went on all the training courses, including one run by the National Federation of Fish Friers. We got lots of advice from people with successful fish and chip shops.

“We decided that key was to go for quality and ensure that our fish and chips were as good as possible, and to really work hard at raising the shop’s presence on social media.

“We entered for lots of awards too, so that we could get recognition for how good our food is.”

The shop is also at the heart of the Selby community, and offers a range of discounts for local NHS workers and the nearby hospice.

Now with their second fish and chip restaurant thriving and taking up an increasing amount of time, the couple has decided to sell Abbey Fisheries.

It could be the perfect opportunity for someone else who fancies a career swap, with a low rent of just £425 per calendar month and six years left on the property’s 10 year lease plus an impressive weekly turnover of £5000 to £6000.

Steve added: “We’ve got a fantastic team in place there who have been helping to run things while we’ve been busy at our other shop. So anyone taking over will be able to get off to a flying start.

“We do feel a bit sad to be selling, it does mean we can concentrate on our other business.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved. It’ll be tough to let it go, but it’ll be a fantastic business for the next owners.”

Abbey Fisheries is being sold through business specialists Ernest and Wilson for offers over £129,950.

Ernest Wilson is based in Leeds and is the leading agent for businesses for sale in the UK. Established in 1956, it has handled thousands of business property deals. Find out more at www.ernest-wilson.co.uk.