Celebrating big slice of bakery’s history

Sharon and John Greaney are looking forward to celebrating 70years of the family business, Peter Pan Bakery and Cafe, next week. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN
Sharon and John Greaney are looking forward to celebrating 70years of the family business, Peter Pan Bakery and Cafe, next week. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN
Tucked away in Oamaru’s Eden St lies a sweet piece of family history.

Over the past 70 years, three generations of the Greaney family have stood behind the counter at Peter Pan Bakery and Cafe, and they have gained a loyal local and national following for their cream donuts, custard squares, pies and other baked goods.

John Greaney took over the business from his father, Kevin, 34 years ago, but it has been a family affair since ‘‘the Tuesday after Labour Weekend’’ in 1950 when Kevin bought a little bakery in Thames St, previously owned by Cleverley’s Bakery.

He had been working at Cleverley’s for about a year, and three or four of his colleagues followed him when he branched out on his own.

About four years later, Kevin bought McPhersons Bakery at the corner of Tees and Wansbeck Sts and that was used as the bakehouse.

It had a coal-fired oven, which they baked in for a long time.

In the early 1980s, the bakery shop shifted from Thames St to Eden St and in 2004,operations were combined on one site in Eden St, where the bakery and cafe is today.

A tour group watches Kevin Greaney working at Peter Pan Bakery and Cafe. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A tour group watches Kevin Greaney working at Peter Pan Bakery and Cafe. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

He was proud of the legacy he and his father had built, and his fondest memories were with the community.

The bakery had several different types of ‘‘regular’’ customers — from those who came in every Friday for their potato-top pie to the travellers who popped in when they were passing through town.

All four of John and wife Sharon’s children — Kieran, Regan and twins Alyssa and Breanna —had worked there over the years, but it was unlikely any of them would take over the business over.

‘‘It’s a nice type of business to be in, but it is very labour intensive,’’ John said.

‘‘I can’t believe I’m still doing what I’m doing at this age, to be fair.’’

There will be several celebrations at the bakery next week including birthday cake, spot prizes and daily specials.

rebecca.ryan@odt.co.nz

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