THE only Chinese bakery in Warrington is closing at the end of 2020.

It is a bittersweet year for The Little Box of Treats as the family business is also marking its 10th year in Stockton Heath.

Founder Sue Kelly is letting the lease run out at the Walton Road bakery and cafe as she prepares for a new chapter in her life.

Her husband Joe, a piano teacher, has decided to change careers and is now studying medicine at Warwick University.

Because of this, the couple currently only see each other for a few hours on Sundays and the change will allow them to spend more time together and think about starting a family.

Warrington Guardian:

Sue, a former Woolston High School student, said: “I’m surprised I got to 10 years considering a lot of shops and restaurants around Stockton Heath have closed over the years.

“So I’m pretty happy about that. It’s been challenging at times though because there is so much choice for food and drink in the village, particularly over the past few years, and we can’t compete with the big companies.”

As a child, Sue loved helping her mum, Ling Yee, in the kitchen while she made things like dumplings and Chinese buns.

But the 35-year-old did not originally plan to open a bakery and cafe and studied language and international business at Leeds Met.

Sue, of Minerva Close, added: “My husband was working in an office at the time and I used to bake for him.

“Everyone used to say: ‘You should open your own bakery’ so I actually went ahead and did it one day.”

Warrington Guardian:

Sue tested the water by selling her cakes at Warrington Market food festivals and the reaction to that gave her the confidence to open in Stockton Heath.

The hobby-turned-business has gone from strength-to-strength since then winning a Warrington Guardian Food and Drink Award and The Essential Guide’s Award for the borough’s best business.

The Little Box of Treats has also frequently topped Tripadvisor as top restaurant in Stockton Heath.

These days visitors can also enjoy dim sum and noodle dishes with Sue’s mum Ling, a chef for more than 30 years, helping out behind the scenes.

Due to demand, the cafe transforms into a restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights too.

Sue said: “My mum still helps me out quite a lot.

Warrington Guardian:

“I’m surprised she’s put up with me for so long.

“But we have a lot of loyal customers who come every week or two and we get quite a few cake orders.

“I love doing the Chinese-style cakes which have no butter in them.

“It is a very light sponge and it’s decorated with fruit so I always say to customers it’s one of your five a day.

“I really like it when people are pleasantly surprised at how different they are to the English cakes.”

There are around 15 types of English and Chinese cakes for customers to try at any one time.

Little Box of Treats also specialises in tea and has around 40 loose leaf varieties.

Warrington Guardian:

Sue added: “It doesn’t feel like 10 years. I’ll miss the customers and I’d like to thank them for all their support over all that time.

“I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I see some of the customers more than I see my friends and I like to chat to them about their lives.

“I’ve made friends through the bakery as well.”