Warrens sell bakery after 120 years
Family era ends as owners say it’s time to think outside custard square
By Caitlin Nobes
It will be the end of an era on Friday when Warren’s Bakery closes its doors after 120 years owned by the same Hastings family. A desire to try something new led owners Malcolm and Robyn Warren to put the business up for sale two years ago.
Local couple Jason and Tamara Cavaney have bought the business, which changes hands next week.
The business was started in 1891, in Havelock North, and was on Russell St for about 70 years.
Mr Warren said he had worked in the bakery for 40 years, since he was in intermediate school when his aunt and uncle owned The Cake Kitchen, as it was known then.
He and his wife bought it in 1987 and were the fourth generation of the family to own it. If any of the fifth generation had wanted the bakery they would have kept it in the family, but their children had chosen different paths.
It was a bittersweet feeling to move on.
“After 40 years I’m ready for something completely different,” Mr Warren said. “It’s exciting but it’s also a bit daunting.”
The couple would take a bit of a holiday before embarking on the next, as yet undecided, project. He was looking forward to sleeping in – a luxury he had missed out on for more than 20 years. The couple had expanded the bakery into a sit-down cafe since they owned it, a decision many people thought was crazy. At the time, empty shops lined Russell St and the country was gripped by a recession.
Mrs Warren said it was the best thing they could have done. “It made it a dream to work here,” she said. “People thought we were rather silly but soon the health centre came in and that’s been a boon for the block.”
The saddest part for her would be losing contact with the people and the history of the bakery.
“That’s what I will miss, getting to know the people,” Mrs Warren said. “Customers come in and say they remember coming to the bakery as a child.”
The bakery would shut its doors on Friday and was expected to reopen under a new name on April 4.
Mr Warren said he had been put under a lot of pressure to pass his famous custard square recipe on to the new owners, and he intended to make an extra batch this week to satisfy loyal locals popping in to say goodbye.
Photo caption – MOVING ON: Robyn and Malcolm Warren are ready to move on after more than 20 years at Warren’s Bakery and let another local couple take charge.
PHOTO/ DUNCAN BROWN