Pepe Rico ahead of the planned closure of the shop. / a.j.g.

Bakery forced to close due to lack of staff is set to reopen after receiving flood of applications

When SUR published news of the closure after 38 years of service in Antequera, the bakery did not stop receiving requests for jobs and on Tuesday it will reopen its doors again

ANTONIO J. GUERRERO

The Rico bakery in Antequera shut up shop after 38 years when owner Pepe Rico Artacho, 75, couldn't find workers to replace retiring staff despite advertising vacancies since December.

When the news was published in SUR last Thursday the baker began to receive calls from interested applicants. And now, an elated Rico, is to reopen his shop on Tuesday, 26 July, with two new bakers.

"My business is my life and, despite my age, I have to reopen because I have served my clientele for many years. I have now found two bakers who know what they are doing and on Tuesday they will start work".

Pepe Rico started from nothing in 1984, rebuilt a bakery in ruins, learnt the trade in another and grew to become one of the leading names in bread, pastries and cakes in Antequera. The bakery-confectionery Rico produced an average of 5,000 loaves of bread.

When two of his bakers were due to retire this year he advertised for their replacements but he had no applicants. He tried changing the traditional early morning hours of the job, from 7.30am to midday, but nobody was interested, even though he was offering a monthly salary of up to 1,850 euros.

He regrets that there are no young people who want to do these artisan jobs and he blames the culture of promoting aid rather than training for young people. “I think that if training was sought, we would not have closed down as is happening in many bakeries," Rico said.

But now his bakery has a renewed future and, from Tuesday, the smell of freshly baked bread will once again waft through Calle Merecillas.