After running businesses for other people all over the world, a Blackpool woman is now back home to open the first business of her own.
Maureen Hartley has worked in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia and even Liberia, West Africa.
The former Collegiate pupil has opened her dream Mexican restaurant called 4Hitas, on Abingdon Street, to spice up the restaurant offering in town.
Maureen worked as a child with her family’s donkey business and their hotel The Garstang, before working in casinos and on the cruise ships.
She said: “I started at the Castle Casino at 18 then went on the liners, I managed a scuba centre in Tenerife, was a financial manager for a green company in Africa all sorts of things, that’s where I got really ill. I came home and had to start all over again. I was homeless for a while and ended up being helped by the Ashley Foundation.
“I asked at the Job Centre in St Annes about setting up my own business and they pointed me in the direction of Get Started.
“I had been wanting to set up my own restaurant for five years.
“Originally I thought about a sushi bar but my son said that might not quite suit Blackpool so I went for a Mexican theme which I love.
“Geoff Reeves at Get Started helped with the financial side of things, especially VAT and tax.
“When I worked in Africa they had a completely different system as you can imagine!
“I chose the name 4Hitas as it represented the four main types of food we do – Fajitas, Tacos, Nachos, Burritos.
“But we also do salads, wraps our salad bowls are essentially deconstructed tortillas. My friend Jane Campbell, who was an environmental health manager in Scotland, is the shop manager and she makes a mean salsa.
“One of our neighbours Eric Leeming, 87, who is an ex-wrestler came along to open the shop dressed in a Mexican costume for a bit of fun.
“We are looking to have something totally different from other restaurants, we will make things to order - a bit like Subway - you can eat in or take away.
“We are taking on some staff via the Positive Steps scheme one full time and another part time and if all goes well we aim to open the upstairs as a restaurant.”