While many restaurants have temporarily closed their doors as they wait out the coronavirus pandemic, for Mooroopna's Yiche restaurant it will mark the end of an era.
Owner Evelyn Anderson is closing her much loved Asian restaurant in the heart of Mooroopna for the final time this Saturday, putting an end to an amazing 11-year chapter.
With plenty of time to reflect on her business and career during the past couple of months, Ms Anderson said she came to the tough realisation it was time for her to close the restaurant.
“This pandemic is a blessing in disguise in some ways; I'm not young anymore and in a few years I will be at retiring age ... in some ways I was like, `if we can't open for dining in, it's no point for us to continue’," she said.
“I thought, well, it’s a good time for me to get out — I'm closing for good after 11 years.”
While Ms Anderson admitted she was ready to retire and enjoy some time with her children and grandchildren, she said she was also extremely sad to be saying goodbye to her restaurant and the customers she had got to know and love during the past decade.
Ms Anderson said she fell into the hospitality industry by chance, and had never planned to own a restaurant.
However after running a dairy farm in Katandra for nine years before moving to Shepparton and working at the Ethnic Council and Ace College, Ms Anderson said a change in career was needed.
“My best friend owned this place before me for 18 years ... this business has been a blessing to myself and the community,” she said.
“I wanted to use this place to help make a difference, and really everything seemed to come into place. I didn't expected Yiche to be so successful in the 11 years.
“I'm very thankful that our customers are fantastic; they have been very supportive in what we’re doing.”
While the restaurant's doors will close on Saturday night for the final time after trade, Ms Anderson said she remained hopeful someone would purchase the business from her.
With plans to retire and "smell the roses" she said she looked back at her time in the McLennan St restaurant with nothing but pride for her staff and customers who had ensured the business flourished.
Ms Anderson thanked the community for its ongoing support and the "sweet memories" which she would take with her as she embarked on the next stage of her life.
“I enjoy working and I love what I have been doing but I am also very happy and ready to retire,” she said.
“I'm excited but I'm sad in some ways too — I've loved being able to make a difference in the community and somehow I feel I have now done my bit.”
● Yiche restaurant will be open for takeaway every day until and including Saturday, May 30 from 5 pm to 8 pm.