O’Grady’s leaves a lasting legacy in popular Yeppoon bakery
O'GRADY'S Bakery has seen three generations pass through its doors over the last 40 years.
But this year, owners John and Judy O'Grady decided to hang up their aprons and take on a well-deserved retirement.
With their last day of trade officially marked at May 31, their story doesn't start in their Normanby St but rather in Charles St - when they first bought a pie shop in 1975.
"It flooded eight times in the nine years we were there," John recalled.
"It looked easier than picking pineapples," Judy laughed, when asked how they got into the bakery business.
In the beginning, it was only John and Judy churning out their tasty treats, which at times was a huge task.
"We used to get lunch orders for St Brendan's College of up to 450 pies which we would have to make from scratch, that was marathon job for two people," Judy laughed.
They have owned several locations in Yeppoon during their 40 years of serving famous pastries to the community and thousands of international visitors.
But family has always been a huge part of what the O'Grady's are about.
"The kids would come and work after school, everyone in the family has been involved with it at some stage," Judy said.
"We've hired a lot of local kids over the years and helped them get apprenticeships.
"It raises them to be resilient from young age and get skills they need to work in the real world."
Even for youths that didn't always do the right thing, community service over punishment was how the O'Grady's would get kids back on the right track.
"If we had kids who would steal, instead of taking them to the police we'd get them to come in and work with us, so they could see how hard it was to run a business," John said.
Sold to the Skinn family, John and Judy's daughter Donna said her kids Summa and Rhys would stay on at the bakery during her schooling.
"We've had such a great time growing up in the business with plenty of memories to take with us," Donna said.
They'll even be sad to say goodbye to the famous Pie Alley, which has grown into an iconic spot for after-hours food on the Capricorn Coast.
"We would quite often drive some of the young local kids home from pie alley during our shifts whenever they'd had too much to drink," Donna laughed.
But their community spirit has always been strong, donating bread and donuts to local foster carers for example, was one of many kind gestures the family business did.
"We always thought if you can do something to help others, you should," Judy said.
"We just want to thank all of our loyal customers and the community for all of their support over the years," she said.
"Because if it wasn't for them, we couldn't have done it."