It is almost last orders time for loyal customers of Ringawera Bakery’s artisan products.
Co-owner Paddy Griffiths has confirmed what island-based retailers were telling the Gulf News – that the award winning baker is closing the doors after almost eight years producing high quality croissants, lavash, ciabatta, baguettes, brioche, buns, rolls and other breads.
“There’s been a change of cirucumstances,” Mr Griffiths said. “It’s time for me to move on and unfortunately the option of relocating on the island is too difficult and costly.
“The work is very hands on with not a lot of technological input”.
The possible scale of the bakery is limited by the traditional approach, he says, making expansion difficult.
He said a fire at Ringawera’s shop in Te Whau Drive last August had been a factor, along with the challenges of seasonality and staff. Management are actively helping the business’ three long term employees find other work. The bakery has already scaled back from the high season staffing levels, when it has employed part-timers and casuals to keep up with demand.
Mr Griffiths said the way the business had been structured did not readily enable it to be on-sold.
“I want to thank those who have supported us over the last seven to eight years. It has been a challenging and interesting time.”
Ringawera won a Cuisine artisan award in 2009 and 2010, and in 2014 won the magazine’s supreme award for its products.
Although Mr Griffiths plans to move away, he says it will not be the end of his association with the island.
“I have family here and will visit on a regular basis. I have had 54 summers here. My grandparents lived here and I have lived here over 18 years”.
He said he started cheffing on Waiheke and progressed to baking during his time here.
The final bake will be on Sunday 30 July. • Rob Brennan