Townsend's Bakery closing after more than 40 years in Launceston

End of an era: Leigh and Debra Townsend will soon close Townsend's Bakery on George Street after more than 40 years. Picture: Phillip Biggs
End of an era: Leigh and Debra Townsend will soon close Townsend's Bakery on George Street after more than 40 years. Picture: Phillip Biggs

After more than 40 years of whipping up the finest baked confections, Leigh and Debra Townsend are closing the doors on Townsend’s Bakery.

Announcing the news on Thursday, Mr Townsend said the decision to close came as health food regulations would require a costly upgrade of about $30,000 to the premises.

He emphasised the decision was not made under duress, but the requirements to upgrade gave the Townsends time to reassess and make the decision to move on to new adventures.

“It’s not about the money, it’s just our decision to … do something different,” he said.

“I came straight from school and I’ve been here ever since, so I’m looking forward to maybe doing something different.

“I’m a typical bloke, I’ve got a lot of half-finished jobs [at home], so I’ll have some time to finish those.”

Mr Townsend said he was originally working as newspaper delivery boy when the newsagency’s owner Mr Grant bought the bakery and offered him a job in 1976.

At 21, his mother helped him purchase the business, setting him up for life.

Since then, the business has become a true family affair with countless relatives helping out behind the scenes, including the Townsend’s four children.

Mr Townsend said it was thanks to his mother for “showing faith” in him that the business had succeeded so early on.

On Facebook, the Townsend’s announcement was met with hundreds of comments, many of which remembered years of dropping by the bakery.

Customers new and old were visiting the iconic green George Street bakery on Friday to express their sadness at the closure and offer support.

Mr Townsend said his phone has not stopped ringing.

Suggestions of crowdfunding for the upgrades were nixed by Mr Townsend, who said it was not about the money, but about the right time to move on.

“We’ve loved what we’ve done, and we’ve always strived to make a lovely product for all our customers,” he said.

“We’ve had families with kids all grown up, who’ve got their own families, we’re doing their children’s cakes and now their wedding cakes – just wonderful families.”

The bakery will close within the next three months.