A FORMER multimillionaire has found a new way to make a crust.
From doing porridge to selling pies, George Reynolds has seen it all.
The Sunderland-born rags-to-riches chipboard magnate, former safe cracker and football club chairman is to open a chain of takeaway shops.
Georgie Porgie’s Pudding and Pies will offer traditional British food.
His first shop is in Cheveley Park Shopping Centre, Belmont, Durham City. The pensioner aims to follow this in the next fortnight with branches in Houghton and Crook.
Mr Reynolds, of Neville’s Cross, has turned to hot food in a bid to use some of the business acumen that made him a multimillionaire earlier in life.
“There are plans to open 20 shops across the region in all,” he told the Echo.
“These days you’ve got Indian takeaways, Chinese takeaways, fish and chip shops.
“Well we’re doing the complete opposite and offering the old-fashioned stuff.
“We’re going back to the 60s type of food and people love it.
“Saveloy sausages with stuffing, pie and peas, bacon sandwiches, rice pudding.
“We do a complete meal for £2, and you get free tea or coffee.
“If someone comes in off the street, they can get a free tea or coffee.
“It’s the only shop of its kind in the country.”
The Belmont shop is being managed by Shelley Muradi.
“It’s a joint venture,” said Mr Reynolds. “Shelley’s got the energy and I’ve got the brains.”
Born in poverty in Sunderland’s Dock Street East, Mr Reynolds set up a business manufacturing kitchen worktops.
Direct Worktops cornered the market and by the early 80s was making 200,000 surfaces a week.
He became one of Britain’s wealthiest men, owned a fleet of luxury cars, a sprawling mansion, a yacht in Spain, a Lake District property and was a neighbour of the Spice Girls in Hampstead.
His business card said: “Gentleman, Entrepreneur, Adventurer, Maker of Money and Utter Genius.”
Mr Reynolds took over Darlington Football Club, saved it from extinction and built a stadium to rival some in the Premiership.
However, he ploughed millions of his own money to prop up the failing stadium scheme at the time his business hit the rocks.
In 2005, he admitted tax evasion and was jailed for three years, but now he is back in business.