The owners of a renowned north-east bakery have sold the business after more than a decade of dishing up much-loved cakes, butteries and daily delights.
Ally and Fiona Rait, who run the Byron Bakery, have been baking Northfield a better place for more than 13 years, but feel the time is right to step away from the oven in favour of retirement.
They’ve sold the business in Northfield Square, but say customers should fear not as their loyal staff will remain and very few changes are expected behind the counter.
Mrs Rait, 55, said: “It’s not a chain that has bought it – that was important to us. It’s a local businessman who has bought it for his daughter to run. We will be staying in place for six months to show them the ropes.”
Mr Rait, 69, originally of Fyvie and now Blackburn, set his sights on owning the shop in 2008 having worked as a baker for since the age of 15.
He worked with Chalmers for 36 years working as a director and manager before moving to Byron in 2005 and buying it three years later.
“I thought I would hardly see him because I worked in care,” Mrs Rait said. “Then he told me the deal was we worked it together so I gave up my job and started there too. I didn’t even know the names of the cakes let alone how to instruct a team of staff. But I loved it. We both did. We have a cracking team of people working there. It’s more than just me and Ally, everyone has a role to play.”
Though they hadn’t any plans to retire, the couple, married for 25 years, felt “the time was right” when they were approached this year.
And they’re delighted their team of 26 staff will remain, “ensuring the bakery’s solid reputation for service and quality is upheld for customers”.
“The community support in Northfield is absolutely fabulous,” Mrs Rait added. “We’ve been so well supported. We see our customers day in and day out and we will miss them. It’s a very special place. Nothing more fills you with pride than looking through from the back of your bakehouse and seeing people queueing outside to come and buy your products.
“It has been a lot of hard work but the affection that we have had from the local people has been amazing and we can thank them enough for their overwhelming support.”
In return the pair have always been keen supporters of local charities and events.
Mr Rait plans to spend more time gardening and golfing, while his wife will be kept busy looking after their disabled son, 30, their daughter, 34, and disabled granddaughter.
Their legacy, though, will remain in Byron Bakery’s reputation as an award-winning one, with the Best Buttery in Scotland award in 2017 remaining one of the pair’s proudest achievements.
“We look forward to leaving it in safe hands,” Mrs Rait added. “I don’t see anything changing, to be honest. It’s not going to be a chain – it’s the individuality which makes Bryon’s and to be able to say to staff that all they jobs are safe when Aberdeen is taking such a hit just now was a relief.”