The proof is in the pastry as bakers rise to challenge

RIGHT RECIPE: Ray and Penny Nelson of Not Just Pies in South Tweed display their quality product.
RIGHT RECIPE: Ray and Penny Nelson of Not Just Pies in South Tweed display their quality product. Nolan Verheij-Full

AFTER three decades, Ray Nelson has gone full circle professionally. From working in bakeries 30 years ago, Mr Nelson went into real estate development in Newcastle, until retirement just on two years ago. Mr Nelson and wife Penny made their way up to the Tweed and decided to re-enter the bakery world, and the Not Just Pies vision was born.

What inspired you to open your own business?

We knew bakeries and we thought it was a niche market on the Tweed. We thought there was an opportunity in the Tweed South area to produce a quality product at tradie prices, which we believe we have achieved.

What do you most enjoy about operating your own business?

The freedom of succeeding or failing by your own decisions. You can guide your own destiny.

What’s the biggest advantage in operating a business on the Tweed?

I think the local community is supportive of a local business and locals are looking for value for money. Tradies, mums and dads, they’re trying to make the dollar stretch further and, if we can provide a quality product and service, the local community seems to embrace that.

What’s the biggest challenge in operating a business in the Tweed region?

It’s not just a challenge on the Tweed, but a challenge across the whole of Australia. Coming back into the retail sector after 30 years, you really realise the pressure on wage structure, overheads and taxes.

What are your future plans for the business?

We are looking to expand and are in the process of doing so. Our store’s current baking area is soon to be transformed into a cafe and we’re expanding the business to incorporate the wholesale market. We are also looking to go into Tweed City Mall and we’re excited about that and hope to be in by early November. Currently, we have a pie van in Chinderah and will continue with that also.

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