BORN AND BREAD TO BE A BAKER
By CRAIG McTEAR
YOU'LL have to forgive Ricky Shaw for feeling a little tired.
You would, too, if you've had to put in the long hours he has for the past 40 years.
The early-morning rises and 10-hour shifts are a thing of the past after today for the 55-year-old baker, who is now relishing a well-deserved retirement.
"It's been a great experience for me," said Ricky, who owns Shaw's Hot Bake in Harbour Drive.
"For me, it's all about the people. Gee, you meet some really nice people, and I've made some lasting friendships.
"They're the ones who you can walk up to in the street and have a chat, or have a beer with."
Ricky was only 15 when he took on a four-year apprenticeship in Kempsey, following in the footsteps of his two older brothers.
"That's when you did a day's work," he said.
"I remember my first Easter. I started on the Wednesday at 8pm and worked through until noon on the Thursday.
"Then I slept for 20 hours after that."
At the end of his training, he moved to Tweed Heads/Coolangatta for more experience, followed by a stint as a dough-maker with Buttercup in Canberra.
He returned to his home town of Kempsey for a couple of years before relocating to Coffs Harbour, where he had his shop at Park Beach Plaza for 14 years.
Ricky has been at Harbour Drive for the past nine years.
"I probably will miss it because it's a good industry to be in," he said.
"You take pride in your work, and I've always enjoyed the cooking side of it. I like making the bread and the rolls."
His wife, Dorothy, has been right there beside him in the business for all of their married life ? 25 years to be precise.
The other woman who keeps him on his toes, Betty Martin, has been a loyal member of staff for 20 years.
As his working days draw to a close, Ricky is looking forward to spending more time wetting a line and practising his lawn bowls.
A chicken shop is earmarked to replace his bakery.