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Celebration ... Clare Rae, left, and cafe manager Maxine Goodman, who have been with Artisan since it opened 10 years ago, cut a birthday cake during celebrations last Monday. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

A large chocolate cake was made to celebrate a special birthday at the Artisan by Rangiora Bakery Cafe last Monday.

The cafe was celebrating 10 years in business, and two employees who have worked at the cafe since day one, cafe manager Maxine Goodman and Clare Rae were on hand to cut the cake.

It was a great milestone, but the celebration was tinged with sadness at the recent redundancies of 40 staff at the bakery after baking-supply contracts were lost during Covid-19 trading restrictions.

“That was hard,” bakery and cafe owner Ron van Til said. Twenty of the 40 staff had only just been hired to handle a new baking-supply contract, which was cancelled when the pandemic hit.

“That was really tough on them,” he said. “These people are like family, especially the staff who have been with us for many years.”

However, a new contract has meant that 11 of those made redundant have already been re-hired and business in the roomy cafe is going well.

The business employs 130 people and began export orders in 2002. It has been owned by the van Til family since 1965 and has won seven Baker of the Year titles in that time.

This year the bakery received more kudos when, five weeks before Easter, their hot cross buns won the New Zealand Baking Society’s nationwide hot cross bun competition. Demand for the buns was huge.