Tuesday 11th August 2020 saw Marina’s funeral cortege drive by her beloved Café Chino (just a couple of doors down from our offices) and for all who joined to witness and celebrate her passing it will be a moment to remember and treasure for many years to come.
Because of the horrible COVID-19 restrictions on funeral services crowds assembled outside her Café lining both sides of the street awaiting her final drive by in order to pay their own respects and say farewell to one of the loveliest, down to earth, hard-working, dedicated, brightest, sweetest, ordinary yet extraordinary business owner managers you will ever meet.
Hers was a café with character and full of characters.
When you popped in and it was empty you would find her at her warmest, kindest and friendliest . When you went and it was bursting with her regulars on certain days, you witnessed the queen of Café Chino in her element – making life and times happier and easier for all who came under her service.
I have lost count of how many pieces of birthday cake I have had a slice of when she was hosting some celebration or other for a loyal customer or when arriving to place an order for the office and her customers mimicking my Scottish accent and asking me if I had a passport as I made my way to the counter. I can still see her early in the morning when having popped in to place a breakfast order she would say “I will pop it in to you Tom” and sure enough 10 minutes later in she comes to our offices with her radiant smile, warm heart, acknowledging the staff and delivering exceptional service. She was way ahead of deliveroo!
She was so proud of her family and it was in this humble, unique and distinguished business that I was introduced to her unforgettable parents and family who can only be heart-broken.
Ever industrious, practical, and shrewd in running her business Marina built a unique business culture, offered her own products and a style of service which are hard to come by these days and developed a loyal customer base as well as trusted relationships with her suppliers.
It has fascinated me since Charles and I bought the practice in 2011 that while the name above the door is The Café Chino, we have always referred to it as ‘Marina’s’.
This beautiful lady was her brand and as such built respect, trust and affection among her customers, suppliers and business neighbours.
On Tuesday 11th August 2020 we lined the streets to say a heartfelt farewell to a very special person indeed who most surely we will miss and would do well to emulate.
Tom Bathgate MBA
15th August 2020
Marina, I salute you!
Credit and Appreciation to Tony Barrett for his photos.