After waking up at 3am for 20 years, owner of Canterbury Pie empire puts business up for sale

Kaylor Macduff

Sheffield Pie Shop owners Loretta and Shane Patterson have prepared some of the more than 3,000 pies since the shop reopened after the Christmas break on Wednesday. This business is his first on the market in 20 years.

Loretta and Shane Patterson, owners of Sheffield Pie Shop.
photograph: Staff/Kai Schwerer

On Friday, a line of eager punters meanders out the door at one of Canterbury’s most popular pie purveyors, one of the 6,000 pastry parcels produced each week by the husband and wife duo and their team. I waited patiently for

About an hour from Christchurch, the Sheffield Pie Shop and its Oxford sister shop and bakery are well situated for day-trippers, skiers, tourists and merchants.

Owners Loretta and Shane Paterson say it’s time to move on.

“I feel like we’ve done what we set out to do.”

The couple, who have known each other since Darfield High School, have run one of Canterbury’s most important lunch joints for 20 years. In total, he had nearly $5 million in revenue last fiscal year.

Horolata patron Richard Broughton enjoys a pie in front of Sheffield Pie’s flagship store.
photograph: Staff/Kai Schwerer

Dating back to the mid-1970s, Sheffield Bakery is known for serving pies to locals through its window in a modest house on a back street.

Loretta Patterson was part of a generation of Sheffield School alumni who grew up eating pie and worked part-time at what was then the Canterbury Caters while in high school. “After a few drinks.”

The pair qualified as bakers before embarking on OE and had experience working together in pubs and restaurants across the UK.

Patterson and her mother bought the bakery in 2002 and invited Shane over.

Initially sticking to catering and wholesale, supplying “a few big customers”, but after being dropped by a few customers because of cheaper rivals, they created a gourmet pipeline that would make the store famous. is created.

“We were stranded in remote Sheffield and realized we had to make the best pies here,” said Shane Patterson.

Since then, the exponential increase in popularity has been due to word of mouth, fueled by media coverage and a growing Pie collection, he said.

In 2015 they took over the former Seager cafe and cooking school in nearby Oxford and now employ about 40 people at both locations.

All baking is done in Oxford, and twice daily vans bring the pies to the shop in Sheffield.

Baking starts at 3am on weekdays and 2am on weekends.

Working hours are “not very social, but you get used to it,” said Loretta Patterson.

Neither of them are sick of pies, even though millions of pies have gone into their hands.

Loretta Patterson likes chicken, apricots and camembert, and her husband’s favorite is New York pepper.

They give bakers “free rein” to experiment, but people always go back to the tried-and-true truth, steak and cheese come out on top, mince and cheese are close competitors, Enjoy venison and whiskey “monkey”.

Twenty years at the helm have changed the taste of kiwi greatly.

When they started they had kettles and instant coffee, but now much of Oxford Cafe’s business is coffee-based.

Shane Patterson said coronavirus-related lockdowns and border closures had taken a toll, but he was “very lucky compared to other businesses” thanks to local support.

And I realized that many people just want to get out of town, just like during the post-earthquake reconstruction.

Inflation was another pressure, pushing prices up just before Christmas.

“Fat was up 25% last year, mince was up about 15%. Flour was up too. That’s when you can get it.”

It’s a fine balance between “maintaining quality without sacrificing margins,” but they wanted their product to be accessible.

Loretta Patterson said, “It’s a luxury to be able to buy bento boxes. We try to maintain ‘domestic prices’ and don’t skimp on ingredients.”

The couple, who have three children, have been working and living together for almost 20 years.

“It has its challenges. It can be hard to draw the line between work and personal life, but we work well as a team and we have to learn to find our time.”

The business, which hit the market late last year, sells for $1.65 million.

There’s already interest and a few people are coming out “to kick the tires”, but it’s “a matter of finding the right fit,” Shane Patterson said.

Loretta Patterson was looking forward to the “freedom to not be the boss,” but her husband said he’s considering selling something sports-related, a passion other than pie.

Queued for pie-lovers and pie-interests in the midday sun on Friday was Christchurch’s Leon Joslyn, who brought his parents, Laurie Josslyn and Pam Josslyn.

The family was still sharing laughter after Laurie Joslin’s pie failure.

The Englishman bought two pies. For lunch he buys one steak and one cheese And the biggest Christmas fruit he’s ever seen bottom.

This story was originally published in thing. After waking up at 3am for 20 years, owner of Canterbury Pie empire puts business up for sale

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