Well May was quite a month at the Apple Pie. As well as all the usual bank holidays we celebrated 40 years. We reached out all the old photos and reminisced about old times when we carried fewer pounds and less grey hairs and remembered some of the special people, who have worked for us over that period – a sizable number still with us –most notably our general manger Simon, our bakery manager, David and our longest serving member of staff Spike, who started in his early teens in the mid-seventies washing up and now works in the bakery. We are exceptionally lucky to have a very loyal core to our team of key people, most of whom have been with us in excess of at least one decade, several for more than 3!
There have been many changes over the years. When David started the business in May 1975 he used kettles for the teas and coffees, the dishes were washed by hand and the bread and cakes were baked in the small bakery across the back yard, which used to be a car repair garage. We now have 5 dishwashers (not of the human variety), the take away counter is on the opposite side of the shop, the bakery is on 2 floors above the most recent addition to our seating areas and we have built over the yard. David loves a building project.
We decided it was something to shout about that we are still here - independent and family run having weathered numerous recessions, the foot and mouth outbreak, many changes in food and eating trends and the and the growing competition from chains such as Costa and the Supermarkets.
We started the build-up with an outside broadcast by Lakeland radio during national Pie week, when their DJ the aptly named John Pye baked a Pie in our bakeryand interviewed some of us. A fun and interesting experience.
On our birthday we sold egg custards, a firm favourite and still one of our original recipes, at the bargain 1975 price of 16p!!
Then out came the balloons and bunting and we planned a get together for 20th May with drinks nibbles, bakery demonstrations, not to mention birthday cake and music from our talented friend, Fiona Hanlon. We tried to get hold of as many ex staff as possible and invited suppliers and customers and opened our doors at 6.30 to a queue of people waiting to come in – It was fantastic to see so many old faces, some had travelled considerable distances to join us and we had a very memorable evening of celebrations and would like to thank again all who came along, who sent us best wishes and in particular David Smith, our bakery manager who put in a VERY LONG day. We asked for donations to charity for the drinks and an astonishing £320 was raised – we chose charities which are close to our hearts as they have affected our own team or customers – Leukaemia and Lymphoma research, Rheumatoid arthritis, Breast cancer research, Brain tumour research, MND and The Will Clark Fund.
So now we turn our thoughts to the future and we think it’s looking very bright. Our oldest son Simon is already on board bringing youth, energy, enthusiasm and a great passion for good food of all kinds. And later this year our youngest son, Richard will return from 2 years working in the Blackbird bakery in London and 6 months at the Woodfrog bakery in Melbourne bringing a wealth of new ideas. Here’s to the next 40 years!!!