A MUCH-LOVED cafe that woos customers with tasty Indian snacks and sweet treats is closing its takeaway service.

Vinnies will close its doors in Market Street for a fortnight from February 1 due to a big drop in income following the pandemic.

The business has reluctantly decided to put staff on furlough whilst owner Penny Hitch continues to make cakes.

Indian-born baker Penny, 54, said: "Demand has fallen off drastically, our income is a quarter of what it was.

"Since the beginning of January our takings have been going down and our overheads going up. I have resisted this for so long but I need to be able to make sure my staff are paid.

"This means reducing Vinnies team to just one person. Going forward by myself is a daunting thought and something I never thought I'd have to do.

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The mum-of-two has been baking for 30 years.

Northwich Guardian:

Penny Hitch and daughter Emma at home

"Making cakes has always been a passion," said Penny, who emigrated from India, where her English dad was working, when she was 18. "I've always been baking for family and friends. Being able to make something that tantalises someone's tastebuds enough for them to come back is wonderful. Customers have been very passionate about what we do."

Penny will continue baking celebration and cup cakes for all occasions and deliver them.

"I delivered a box of brownies and blondies to Davenham Primary School today and I've got a treats box for Barnton Community Primary staff. Teachers order them to thank staff for all their hard work."

Penny launched her business making American style milk shakes in Northwich Indoor Market in 2017.

"We make them with ice cream and chocolate bars," she said. "They are absolutely divine, no one else was doing them and it really took off."

As customers grew, she decided to expand and opened a little restaurant in Market Street nearly three years ago, serving nachos, burritos and hot dogs.

The team also offers outdoor catering for private functions and corporate events.

"It was something completely different," said Penny. "Everything is made from scratch. People absolutely loved it."

And despite the Northwich Market fire, last January which destroyed three wedding cakes days days before they were due to be delivered, Vinnies has never let any customers down.

"In the face of adversity the team always roll up their sleeves," said Penny. "The cakes were all ready and decorated but were smoke damaged. We started again and met the orders. No customer is ever disappointed. We endeavour to provide customer service that is second to none."

Penny works with daughter Emma, 29, shop manager Finlay Boone and another assistant already on furlough for health reasons.

Northwich Guardian:

Emma Hitch and mum Penny

Vinnies, named after her uncle Vincent who inspired her to open her own business, still has exciting plans.

"I have taken a lot of thought and effort thinking about the future," said Penny. "We applied for al fresco dining and bought tables and chairs so people can sit outside.

"I also hope to do treat boxes with a difference for Valentine's Day and cup cake bouquets for Mother's Day.

"I can still do buffets and outside catering. Hopefully if I am inundated I will bring staff back.My samosas have a bit of a reputation."

To order visit vinniesnorthwich.co.uk or call 01606 41634.