The owners of popular ice cream shop Continental Cream are hanging up their scoops after 23-years at the helm of the business.
Meeting back in 1996 while they both worked at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool, Chris Collins and Lynda Forrest hit it off.
While Ms Forrest, originally from Aboyne, enjoyed her time on Merseyside she felt the pull of Aberdeenshire dragging her back.
And, having dreamt of owning a business her whole life, when the pair spotted a shop available to lease in Banchory, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Trading from the same shop since 1998, they have made use of Lynda’s knowledge of the local area and lifetime of experience in retail and Chris’ willingness to dive in at the deep end to become a mainstay of Banchory’s high street.
But now, with their lease drawing to an end and wanting a well-deserved rest, they have left the business to not just a pair of capable hands but to friends in Julia and Gavin Fleming.
“Retail has changed so much.”
After decades of hard work to build the business up, 66-year-old Mr Collins is looking forward to “sitting in the garden and doing nothing.”
Originally from the Wirral, he said: “I love it up here, it is just so clean, pretty and the people are lovely, now is a good time to sit back and enjoy all of that properly.
“It has been a lot of hard work running the shop, but it has also been brilliant; with a lot of patience, hard work and effort, it has all been worth it.
“Retail has changed so much. When we met all those years ago, Lynda was in charge of the shop at the Maritime Museum, and now things are so different.
“People might say they’ll miss us as we’ve been here so long, but nothing is changing except the faces – and Julia and Gavin are both fantastic people, we get on with them so well, at the minute they’re coming in to learn the ropes.
“I think now is a good time to relax and do nothing.”
Fundraising praise from parliament
The owners have also been praised by Aberdeenshire West MSP, Alexander Burnett, who has asked Scottish Parliament to congratulate the couple.
Mr Burnett praised the owners for their dedication to Banchory over the years and their fundraising activities for local groups.
He said: “Lynda and Chris are an absolute credit to Banchory and have done so much over the years to help the town.
“So many people, including tourists, have been through the doors of Continental Cream, highlighting just how popular it is.
“Not only have they built up a business which helps form Banchory town centre, but they have also continually supported local groups through fundraising activities which have been fantastic.
“It’s an honour to have them recognised in the Scottish Parliament for their admirable work.
“I wish both them and the new owners, Julia and Gavin, all the very best for the future.”