AN award-winning Stourbridge chippy has announced it will be changing hands and rebranding.

Merchants Fish and Chip Shop in Norton, which has been a long-standing favourite takeaway for fish and chip lovers, has confirmed the shop is to be taken over by a new owner from Monday May 20.

Shop owner Anthony Akathiotis told the News he has sold the Worcester Street business to a local businessman, Jimmy Menicou who runs Norton Fisheries, and it will be renamed Mary’s Fish and Chip Shop in honour of its location next to Mary Stevens Park.

He said: “It’s time to pass the reigns over. I love what we do but I’m looking forward to having a bit of down time and spending time with my family.”

In a message to customers on Facebook, he said: “Over the past 12 years, it has been an honour to serve this community and provide you all with our beloved fish and chips. I want to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering support, loyalty, and friendship throughout the years.

“I am thrilled to share that the new owner is committed to maintaining the same great quality and traditions that define The Merchants.

“The menu, staff, and everything you love about us will remain unchanged, ensuring that you will continue to enjoy the same delicious fish and chips that you've come to know and love.

“As I pass the torch to Mary's, I do so with confidence and a sense of pride in what we've accomplished. I have no doubt that the new owner will uphold the values and standards that have made Merchants a beloved staple in our community.

“Thank you again for your support, and I look forward to seeing Mary's flourish as it continues to serve you all with excellence.”

He stressed Merchants will be retaining its flagship riverside fish and chip shop in Bewdley, plus Halesowen Merchants.