Owner who turned derelict Mirfield shop in thriving cafe hangs up her apron

A woman who turned a derelict shop into a thriving cafe is to hand the baton to a new owner.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 4th January 2021, 8:50 am

Michelle Hunt, 59, opened Chelle’s Deli Cafe in Sunny Bank Road, Mirfield, in 2011.

Now, after a difficult year of enforced closures due to Covid-19, Michelle has decided to hang up her apron.

From December 28 the cafe will be taken on by Emma Conyers, who runs The Pie Shed, an equally-successful cafe in Westborough, Dewsbury.

Michelle Hunt, left, retiring from Chelle's Deli Cafe, Mirfield, with new owner Emma Conyers, right.
Michelle Hunt, left, retiring from Chelle's Deli Cafe, Mirfield, with new owner Emma Conyers, right.

Chelle’s is currently closed due to Tier 3 restrictions. When it re-opens it will be re-named The Pie Shed Mirfield.

Michelle said her decision to hand over what she describes as her “baby” was not directly linked to the impact of the pandemic.

However, the closure for the first lockdown saw such an improvement in the back pain she suffered from being on her feet all day that she decided it was time to move on.

Michelle said: “Due to the relentless standing there were days when four Tramadol for breakfast was the only way to get through the day!

“During lockdown I found myself with time on my hands to pursue other activities such as gardening, walking and even running up and down stairs.

“The improvement in my back pain was phenomenal but as soon as I returned to work in July so did the hobbling old woman. I knew then a decision had to be made.”

Michelle had got to know Emma and quickly realised she was the only person she wanted to take over.

“Emma’s food is amazing and she is like me,” said Michelle. “We will both do whatever it takes to make sure the quality is spot on every time, and that’s why Emma is the only person I would trust with my baby.”

Emma will take on Chelle’s existing staff and will open when restrictions allow.

She admitted it was “scary” to be taking on a new business in the midst of a pandemic with “hospitality seen as a bit of a villain.”

She was excited to expand and added: “Yes, hospitality is having a tough time right now but we have a proven track record.”

Emma will continue to run The Pie Shed Dewsbury, which is currently open for takeaways.