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Family business . . . Lynette Aikman (right) is happy to have her sister Debbie working alongside her at the El Paso Dairy in Waimate. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

The El Paso dairy in Waimate is open for business again.

The store has been reopened by Waimate woman Lynette Aikman.

El Paso had been in hiatus since the former business owners closed it about two years ago.

Mrs Aikman believed the loss of the dairy had created a hole in the town – and she decided to fill it.

Although she only bought the business in November, the idea had been sitting in her head for a year.

It was not just a dairy – it was something that had a legacy, she said.

“I felt the town needed something in here again.”

Following the store’s reopening a little over two weeks ago, Mrs Aikman had received praise from the community for reviving the business.

“They were very grateful that I took this leap of faith and did it.”

It was always a dream to run her own store, she said.

As a child, she often pretended to run her own shop on the family farm.

“When we were living with mum and dad, we had an old house on the property on the wee farm we lived at and I turned it into a little shop.”

Later in her teenage years, she worked behind the counter at the El Paso dairy.

“It was sort of an after-school job and at weekends,” she said.

“I really loved working and getting a bit of pocket money.”

The hardest part of setting up the business was a lack of knowledge about the store’s financial records.

“Because it had been closed, I had no financial records or evidence of stock or anything so everything has sort of been unknown to me.”

Although there were a few obstacles along the way, Mrs Aikman was proud on the day she could finally unveil the new shop to customers.

Since reopening the business, she has employed her sister, Debbie, who works alongside her.

The best part of running the business was the flexibility of the job, she said.

Although it would be a tough job, Mrs Aikman was confident she could maintain the El Paso legacy for years to come.