Rick and Sunny put a new spin on Ipswich classic
WHEN Rick and Sunny Lu tell you that baking is in their blood, they really mean it.
The couple met in a bakery when Rick was learning his trade seven years ago. Now, after being together ever since, the married couple of three years is spending seven days (and nights) a week side by side as they work hard to build their new business on the site of what was the most iconic bakery in Ipswich.
For many years Billy Macs was the bakery that everyone knew, and it operated from the address for decades. Last year the Hunter Street bakery closed, but all the facilities were still there ready for a new, invigorated owner, and since August the Lus have been working hard behind the scenes to revamp the iconic location.
Rick bakes everything in the store himself, and takes great pride in his work, especially his pies, which he hopes will start a brand new iconic brand in Ipswich.
"I saw an advertisement for a bakery that had shut down, but still had all the equipment on site, so I spoke to the landlord and saw for myself that everything was still there," Rick said. "We took over in mid-August and after about four months of renovations, like new paint, new tiles then all the paperwork, we opened the doors last month.
"It was the location that attracted us. We looked at a lot of bakeries but this one was cleaner, newer and in a location we really wanted. We fell in love with this spot...it's got everything, like easy parking, the shop front is close to the street, it's a busy road, a school not far away, there's a Maccas next door...it's a great location."
Ironically, Rick and Sunny didn't know how iconic the location was, but all their new customers quickly told the couple about what it meant to the Ipswich community.
"When we took over we'd never heard of Billy Macs but we've had people coming in and telling us about it, that's the one thing I've been picking up on. For example I was placing orders over the phone for some baking ingredients and when I tell them the address they say 'Oh, I know it, the old Billy Macs?
"I've been baking for over seven years now and I still love it. I'm pretty proud of my pies, I think they are great. Everything is made from scratch. I like to keep things original, and nothing too fancy with my pie flavours. Everything that is edible in the shop is made here on site from scratch. I don't like to buy pre-made pastry for example."
With the holiday season now over and the doors open, the couple is looking forward to finding somewhere to live in Ipswich so they don't have to drive too far to work in the early hours of the day.
"We've been together in a bakery the whole time we've been together," Rick said. "We are together 24 hours a day, and it's natural for us. We are an easy going couple, and don't take things personally.
"I love baking, and for me as a business owner I believe you have to be there, to look after things.
"If it's your shop, its better when you are there look after it yourself."
The new Hunter Street Bakery is open from 5am seven days a week at 23 Hunter St, next door to McDonald's.