A COFFEE shop owner has decided it is finally time for her to sit on the other side of the counter as she prepares to leave the family business to her daughter.

Sally Hughes, 66, has been running the Cafe Rio in Manningtree for the past 16 years, making it a “community hub” for everyone who wants to enjoy afternoon tea.

Sally started working at the cafe as a waitress but when the opportunity presented itself, she did not hesitate to buy the shop from the previous owner.

Having earned the trust of Manningtree locals for years, Sally is now ready to hand over the business to her daughter Hannah Linnett, 32, and her husband James, 44, as she enjoys her retirement.

Sally said: “It hasn’t always been my dream to have a café, it just happened I was working there and I really enjoyed it.

“They had a little sign on the window looking for somebody on Tuesday to do a bit of waitressing.

“The bottom line is you have to enjoy what you are doing and have a passion for it.

“It is quite hard work like all businesses and you have got to be able to work through all that.”

Working at the cafe hasn’t always been easy but Sally has always managed to find the silver lining.

She added: “Probably when we went through Covid that was the most challenging as we had to close.

“But we started doing takeaways and it opened up a new opportunity for us really.

“It was both good and bad.”

Sally says running the business is “quite a physical job and it involves a lot of hours” but her daughter and son-in-law have always shown interest in the family business so she feels “it is the right time” to step back.

Sally added: “We offer a friendly service and we love what we do. We are open seven days a week.

“People come from quite a distance for our coffee and we also have outside seating which no other café has in Manningtree.

“So people can sit and watch the world go by.”

Visit Cafe Rio Manningtree on Facebook.