New addition to the family for Teesside trader

Loving mum-of-three Penny Ward puts so much heart and soul into her new business that she treats it like a child – and that’s why she’s called it Number 4.

Forty-nine-year-old Penny has opened her deli in Middlesbrough as she plans to close the business she has run in Stockton for the past 23 years.  Ray’s Deli is shutting as the Castlegate Shopping Centre is prepared for demolition.

Although Penny was offered a new unit in Stockton on a five-year lease she was reluctant to commit, and – when shopping at her friend Nicole’s shop in the Dundas Indoor Market – she had the idea of moving there and is so far delighted.

Leaving loyal customers was a wrench but a delivery service – launched during lockdown – will continue from Middlesbrough.

Penny Ward and David Harris, manager of the Dundas Indoor Market

Penny Ward and David Harris, manager of the Dundas Indoor Market

Number 4 is a real family affair.  Her three children work there and even her ex-husband Ray has come out of retirement to help.

“We’re still best friends,” said Penny, who lives in Norton.  “He handed over the business near the start of the pandemic and moved away, but now he’s back and I’ve re-employed him.”

She said lockdown was tough but she was determined to keep going to support the people who worked for her.  Number 4 employs seven staff who provide freshly made sandwiches, salads, cakes and snacks.  “We can provide anything people want,” said Penny, who says she has lots of exciting plans for the future.  “If you have your own business you can’t switch off and that’s why you’re always having ideas.  I’m determined to make this a success because I want to do it for the kids and make sure they’ve always got something to fall back on.”

David Harris, the manager of Dundas Indoor Market, said Penny’s experience, enthusiasm and quality of her food are an excellent addition to his team of independent traders.

“We’ve got a great mix: people who are new to business and people like Penny who has run a business for years.  It’s obviously been a tough couple of years for everybody but I’m extremely optimistic that 2022 is going to be easier and all the hard work will be rewarded.”