Established Valley business expands its operations to former site of popular deli run by husband and wife team

Ian and Sandra Roberts are pictured third and fourth from the left with staff at the Chicken Deli.
Ian and Sandra Roberts are pictured third and fourth from the left with staff at the Chicken Deli.

A couple who ran a popular sandwich shop and delicatessen in Clitheroe town centre have thanked their customers and staff for years of loyalty.

Ian and Sandra Roberts, who ran the Chicken Deli on Church Street for 21 years, retired in the New Year with another Ribble Valley business, CJs Sandwich Shop at Whalley, taking over the premises.

A drawing of the Chicken Deli by Sam Holden.

A drawing of the Chicken Deli by Sam Holden.

“We’ve had some great staff and some fantastic customers in a fantastic town,” said Ian. “We’ve had a good laugh over the years, you had to have a sense of humour as it was just so crazy busy a lot of the time.”

Ian and Sandra, who live in Wilpshire and have two sons, are now looking forward to their retirement.

The couple, who always used to enjoy a holiday in Florida in the New Year because it was the only time the business was quiet enough for them to take time off, are looking forward to doing more walking and travelling in this country.

Virginia James who runs CJs in King Street, Whalley, said she is delighted to be expanding the business with her sons William and Oliver looking after the new business in Clitheroe while she concentrates on the Whalley business.

Sam's dad Bill holding the Chicken Deli signs.

Sam's dad Bill holding the Chicken Deli signs.

“We’ll continue to do what Ian and Sandra did at the Chicken Deli in Clitheroe but we’ll also be adding lots of our own stuff as well,” Virginia explained.

“We’ll be keeping all the old favourites and carrying on with the same bakers and suppliers. The product and price range will all stay the same.”

The closure of the popular deli has been met with sadness with one local lad, Sam Holden, even drawing the front of the deli to keep as lasting memory.

Sam (25), who used to live in Clitheroe, but now lives in London, did a drawing of the deli when he heard it was closing down.

A regular there with his older brother Joe (30), Sam, who likes to draw in his spare time and whose parents Bill and Jan Holden still live in Clitheroe, also asked for two of the deli’s signs as a keepsake.

“We both got the same sandwich at Chicken Deli for years – Ian and Sandra called it ‘the usual’ and they would ask us how many we were ordering rather than what we wanted,” said Sam.

“My brother Joe lives in Bath and has done for a few years so he didn’t get to eat there very often, so when I was at home in Clitheroe I would often buy a sandwich and post it to him via Royal Mail.

“Chicken Deli was and is genuinely a big part of our lives and our relationship, and something we spoke about a lot, so you can imagine we were actually upset when we found out it was closing down! So that is why I felt that it would be nice to draw it and have that reminder of it in the future when we might not have been to Clitheroe for a long time.”