Manager of hugely popular Aylesbury chippy retires after nearly 50 years serving the town

“I want to get out and enjoy retirement while I can walk out, rather than being carried out”
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The manager of a popular Aylesbury chippy retires today (26 May) after 49 years of serving battered delights in the town.

Rob Sales has worked at Ocean Wave Fish Shop for 39 years and spent his entire adult life working in chippys.

After a near-half century of seeing the takeaway industry and people’s eating habits change he is off to enjoy the retired life.

Rob Sales of the Ocean WaveRob Sales of the Ocean Wave
Rob Sales of the Ocean Wave

Rob said: “I’ve been doing this for 49 years in the town, since I was 15. I’ve been in this shop for 39 years.

"I’m 64 now, life has changed quite a bit for me. And I want to get out and enjoy retirement while I can out, rather than being carried out.”

Ocean Wave has always been run as a family business under Rob’s stewardship. His late, first wife, Lorraine, was instrumental in running operations with him and when they were younger his daughters, Michala and Fiona would help out.

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Rob with his late wife Lorraine, and former co-worker PeggyRob with his late wife Lorraine, and former co-worker Peggy
Rob with his late wife Lorraine, and former co-worker Peggy

"I got remarried, after being married for 41 years,” Rob added. “I lost my wife and it makes you realise how quick life goes.”

The future of the chip shop is uncertain with the new group taking over the site, not revealing its long term plans for the store on Weedon Road.

But Rob is proud of Ocean Wave’s part in Aylesbury's history.

“It’s been a brilliant working life for me. I wouldn’t change it for the world," he said.

"There have been so many highlights really, the amount of customers who’ve become really good friends, who you still see and go out with. Considering the length of time I’ve been doing it there’s been very few down moments.”

Like most family-run businesses, Ocean Wave has faced an extremely challenging few years. Rising energy bills and inflation costs, combined with the pandemic has made life tough.

"It’s difficult now, it’s very difficult to run the shop. Everything is against you at the moment. You’ve just got to do your best to get through it, because everyone is in the same situation.

"Your customers have only got so much money. You’ve still got to make a profit, but if you outprice yourself you’re not going to get your customers. It’s that vicious circle."

The 64-year-old has been in the food business for long enough to see British people’s eating habits dramatically change.

When Rob started out, eating take outs was a Friday night treat, while the variety of restaurants and continental eating options has significantly expanded in Aylesbury and across other Bucks towns.

Not to mention food delivery options which mean fish and chips cravers barely have to leave their sofa to pick up their battered favourites.

"People’s attitude to food has changed, Rob said.

“Years ago 4.30am on a Friday for instance, if I didn’t have cabinets pretty much stark full of fish, I would never have kept up.

"Deliveries that’s where it all goes now more people want deliveries. Personally, I don’t do deliveries, because I like to see my customers.

"I’m about communicating, seeing my customers, having a laugh.”

Rob, his family and staff kept the highest standards throughout their time in Aylesbury and will be fondly remembered by customers stretching back decades.

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