South Shields cafe boss gets set to brew up for last time

FOND FAREWELL ... caf� owner Michael Jamal is calling it a day.
FOND FAREWELL ... caf� owner Michael Jamal is calling it a day.

A CAFE boss who has run businesses across South Tyneside over the course of a 30-year career is about to brew up for the final time.

Born to a French mother and Syrian father, Michael Jamal travelled around the world as a ship cook and steward as a young man.

I’ve always been a hands-on boss. I believe that you have to be to make your business a success. You have to be in it to win it, as they say.

Michael Jamal

He settled in South Shields in the early 1980s after meeting his wife Barbara in a town nightclub.

Mr Jamal quickly started to build up his business empire after opening his first café in Frederick Street, at Laygate.

In the years that followed, other outlets opened their doors in King Street, the Market Square, the Mill Dam, Fowler Street, all in South Shields, in Jarrow shopping centre and in Wallsend and North Shields.

Now, he’s sold his last remaining outlet, Michael’s Café in the Denmark Centre.

It will be moving over to new owner in a few weeks, although the existing staff are being kept on.

Father-of-three Mr Jamal, of Grasmere Gardens, South Shields, said he was sad to be calling it a day, but he says he takes with him many happy memories and lots of satisfied customers.

He said: “I’m 65, and I’m ready for a rest. I have a good living, a good family and a happy life. Who knows, I may get another business again, but for now, I’m taking a break. I feel I deserve it.

“I’ve always been a hands-on boss. I believe that you have to be to make your business a success. You have to be in it to win it, as they say.

“I met my wife in South Shields all those years ago, and I gave up a good job at sea. I was earning £1,700 a month at the time. I gave all that up for love, but I don’t regret it.

“I know I’ll be leaving behind a lot of friends, and I still love the work, but it will be good to take it a bit easier and spend some time in the garden.

“The customers say they will miss me, and I’ll miss them.”

Twitter@shieldsgazpaul