With stores in Albury, Ballarat, Bendigo, Bright, Echuca, Healesville and Yackandandah, Beechworth Bakery has become iconic, but founder Tom O’Toole has announced his retirement, stepping down while long-time business partner Marty Matassoni steps up as owner.
Tom O’Toole bought the original Beechworth Bakery building, then called the Ideal Café & Milk Bar, in 1974. He continued with that name but sold the business only three years later. In 1984, Tom bought the building for the second time, this time calling it the Beechworth Bakery.
Marty Matassoni started working for Tom at Beechworth Bakery at the age of 13 after school, peeling onions, cracking eggs, stacking the drinks fridge and putting stock away. Marty soon moved into early morning shifts at the bakery, helping the bakers and cooking the donuts. At the age of 16, he left school and began his apprenticeship as a baker/pastry cook and in 2001 bought a share of the business from Tom.
Mr O’Toole told The Border Mail he was confident the business would be in good hands.
“I’ve got old and grey so it’s time to let go,” he said.
“It’s a young person’s business. I’ve been there, done that and I’m on the downhill slide now.
“It takes a lot of guts to retire when it’s been your business. You live and breathe it, you talk it and it can be hard to let go but I feel more than happy to let go.
“Marty’s been running the place for years and it’s only going to get stronger.”