THE Evlambiou family owned the Sunridge Spar for 32 years before selling it in 1999, but matriarch Maria Evlambiou still often has local residents coming up to her and joking about how they used to nick sweets from her shop when they were children.
Maria, who turned 84 on May 1, and her late husband, Anthony, moved to Johannesburg from Cyprus in the early 1960s with their two children, Evanthia and Andrew.
“We came over on boats that took about three months to get here,” said Maria.
In 1963 the couple, fondly known as Mr and Mrs Anthony, moved to Port Elizabeth to start their trade store in the spot where the Sunridge Spar is today.
“We lived in the flat above the store when we first moved here,” said Andrew.
“And three months into having the shop there was a fire and we had to trade from the tea room area next to the shop,” Evi recalls.
Maria said they had traded like that for about a year, until the shop re-opened.
In 1967 they began trading as a Spar and a year later they moved to their current home in Kragga Kamma Road, Sunridge Park. They were surrounded by bush and farms – a far cry from what the area is like today.
Maria said the area had really changed since they moved in.
“This was all farm land and we used to take Sunday drives along Kragga Kamma Road and see so many monkeys along the way,” recalled Evi.
Andrew and Evi recalled that while they were at primary school, their’s was the last stop on the bus route.
“We used to play in Londt Park when it was still a valley with bush and trees.
“This was all farm land back then.
“It is amazing how it has all changed,” said Andrew.
Maria said she had fond memories of the business and the many people they met.
“They still call me Mrs Anthony. Many people still greet me, even though I caught them stealing sweets before school,” she laughed.
The family initially had the shop at the village for about three years and then sold it, but bought it back three years later before finally selling up in January 1999.
Evanthia or Evi as she known, now owns Red Feather Trading and helps bring the annual Christmas Shop to life in the city.
Andrew has many business ventures, many of which were shared with his dad before he died in 2010.
Over the years all of Maria’s siblings have found their way to Port Elizabeth. And although she is the only surviving sibling, family get-togethers are never dull with about 75 family members and close friends meeting.
<div><a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>Bobbi Sands</a></div>