Popular West End institution to change hands after 33 years as newsagent owners sell up
The owners of Sweet Service, an institution in the west end of the Capital, have sold their business after 33 years of blood, sweet and tears.
Earlier this year Ulfatullah, also known by Abdullah to the locals, and his wife Kausar Malik had decided to sell the company after becoming proud grandparents to their granddaughter, Ayesha.
The Maliks have served tens of thousands of interesting characters during their time in the Capital, from the local OAPs of Forth View housing to the ex-governor of the Bank of Scotland, Sir Thomas Risk.
They have always had an ability to strike a connection with those they served, naming Sir Menzies Campbell QC MP and Lady Campbell among their friends, but also showing their value to locals as Mr and Mrs Malik revealed some residents would leave spare house keys with them in an act of trust.
But the couple’s business venture, on the corner of Drumsheugh Gardens and Lynedoch Place, had not come without troubling times having suffered multiple break-ins since 1986.
Mrs Malik said: “Last year was the last break-in, although previously we had several. You forget how many times it happened. You would get a call from the police in the middle of the night and the police would be standing in the shop.”
Nonetheless the couple cited the fact that each time it happened the community rallied around to support them – a testament to what the couple represented in the area.
The Maliks have assured the community that they are leaving the premises in good hands and turned down substantial offers from prospective buyers who could not ensure the right business would be in place. They eventually found the right buyer and sold in early June 2019 to Chauvry Tahzeem, who they feel will continue to serve the community in the same fashion as they had.
Mrs Malik’s family had emigrated to England in 1965 from Pakistan and then to Currie in 1973, where they set up their own shop, Currie Food & Wine.
Mrs Malik learned her trade and studied from her parents running their own business, before being joined by her husband in the UK, who also emigrated from Pakistan in 1981.
After opening Sweet Service in 1986, they had their son Umar, now 32, followed by daughter Sofia, now 27.
When Umar was born, a local couple gifted them a silver spoon in celebration, which was followed by a flurry of gifts to celebrate their newborn.
The appreciation shown by the local community for the Malik’s service has been a constant throughout their careers, with old customers from as far as France sending flowers and cards wishing them all the best in their retirement. As proud grandparents, they now plan to spend their time in retirement looking after Ayesha and her sibling who is expected in July.
They said: “Over the years we have met some lovely people and have made lovely lifelong friends. It has been amazing. We have been really lucky and have enjoyed every minute of it.”