Judy Tuki, nee Sim, has been a familiar face at Ashburton’s Sim’s Bakery for 60 years.
But on Friday next week, the 74-year-old will be hanging up her apron for good.
Her smile, seen in the shop or out while doing deliveries, has brightened the day of customers from all walks of life over the years.
Judy said she had enjoyed providing the bakery staples of cream buns, loaves of bread, pastries galore, not to mention the shop’s renowned meat pies.
She has served customers in the Tinwald bakery who had come from around the world as they stopped off along State Highway One, as well as generations of locals, many of whom had been weekly regulars for decades.
She had also enjoyed working alongside family in the shop, and her fellow staff members,
‘‘It’s actually been quite good because of those I’ve worked with,’’ Judy said.
Customer favourites had been the meat pies, as well as bread rolls.
But in the early days it was bread, loaves of which were proofed for six hours.
Pies were only made in the winter season.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, the bakery was making up to 1000 loaves a day. Team members would load up the mailmen with bread destined for RD deliveries.
Sim’s stopped door-to-door deliveries in 1973, when a government flour subsidy was removed.
It almost doubled the price of bread.
Now the bakery makes 40 to 50 loaves a week, while the Sim’s pies, with their own special recipe, are made all year round.
Judy, the daughter of late owners Arthur and Lesley Sim, finished the school year and started in the family business just short of her 15th birthday.
She started doing deliveries in the mid 1970s, first driving the business’s iconic green Bedford van, before it was upgraded with a second vehicle.
‘‘I just mostly worked in the shop … a bit of office work, cake cutting. I didn’t start doing deliveries until then. I’ve been doing them for about 47 years.’’
Deliveries saw bakery products ferried to hotels and shops through out the town.
Judy’s dad, Arthur, was a second-generation baker.
He started at Hinds, before setting up Sim’s Bakery in Ashburton in 1960.
His father was Thomas McGill Sim who had a bakery in his name in Methven in 1925. Thomas came out from Scotland aged 19, in 1900.
He started in Invercargill before moving north to Rangiora in 1919 and opened the first Thomas McGill Sim’s Bakery.
Judy and younger brother Manny were destined to work in the family business. Manny was 15 when he started in the bakery in 1967.
He took over the bakery from his father in 1985.
It is now in the hands of daughter Carmen, and her husband Glenn.
Manny, 71, said retirement is a ‘‘bloody good thing, but you’ve got to keep yourself busy’’.
He retired five years ago.
He has many interests in the community and was keen for Judy to embrace the next chapter of her life.
Judy said her retirement would include more time in the garden and travel, and as a keen sports player she was considering some options which could include bowls.