Cafe ‘takes a break’

2015-05-06 09:31
Sopallie Allie is preparing to retire after half a century as the owner of the Latvan Cafe in Walmer Estate. 

nicole mccain

Sopallie Allie is preparing to retire after half a century as the owner of the Latvan Cafe in Walmer Estate. PHOTO: nicole mccain

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Much has changed since Sopallie Allie opened his shop in Walmer Estate in 1962.

The Latvan Cafe has withstood a change of regimes, has seen families come and go from the suburb and has stayed put even as prices have escalated.

When the shop first opened, a carton of cigarettes cost R1.60. A 2F Coke was only 10c.

Allie has kept soft drink bottles from the early days of the shop, amassing a unique selection.

“A man even came from Coca-Cola in America to see my collection,” Allie says.

As he prepares to retire, he is looking for a buyer to love the shop as much as he has.

“I’m looking for a good buyer to sell to,” he says. “The business is good and good people come to the shop.”

Allie opened the shop when he was just 18 years old, learning all the tricks of the trade as he went along.

“I learnt on the job,” he tells.

Allie later bought the property on the corner of Perth and Chester roads, which he has now put on the market.

“It’s time to take a break,” he says.

But he will miss his regular customers, especially the children from the nearby schools.

“I’m going to miss the love from my customers and the children, who I enjoy having in the shop,” he says.

Regular customer Shirley Adams says the community will miss Allie’s friendly face.

“The shop is always clean, neat and tidy. The service is excellent and I’m very disappointed it will be closing. Never once did Mr and Mrs Allie have a long face that would chase customers away!” she says.

But despite the many years in the trade, Allie maintains he has no favourite customer.

“They’re all my favourite!” he says

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