WHEN Wodonga businessman and keen golfer Ian Shirley decided to retire and sell the iconic Henri's bakery, he had no idea a tsunami, savage bushfires and a global pandemic would cause his dream to fall as flat as a sunken souffle.
The last straw was when the giant rolling pin on the bakery's roof broke down and started making an unholy racket just like his potential buyers - a lot of noise but no action.
"The big rolling pin makes a lot of noise, it creaks and makes a racket, it makes scary noises, so we just leave it turned off," Mr Shirley said. "A few people have said 'your rolling pin's making a funny noise, it's not going to fall through the roof is it?'"
Mr Shirley, who admits he is "a troubled man", put his landmark business back on the market two months ago but said the latest obstacle to his plan to sell up and head to the golf green was staff shortages.
"It's just unbelievable the troubles we've faced trying to sell this place," he said of his efforts to unload the famous bakery which has been a thriving business for more than 50 years.
"The last bloke who wanted to buy Henri's also had mining interests in Indonesia but when a tsunami hit, he had to go back to help his staff who had lost family there.
"We just haven't gotten over it, then we had the fires, then COVID hit and it just completely drained us.
"Playing more golf is the idea, but it's such a hard time to sell, we've had some people interested but they ended up thinking, well why would we? If we can't get the staff, how are they going to get staff?"
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Mr Shirley said since he and his wife, Donna, started advertising Henri's he'd had plenty of nibbles from potential buyers, but no bites.
"People will look at it a little bit, but we haven't had any bites," he said. "We should be waiting another couple of years, perhaps."
"Graham is a nice guy, but ... in the end he went back to his goldmines in Indonesia," Mr Shirley said. "They had a couple of crews over there when he tried to buy the bakery and then a tsunami hit and, he didn't lose staff, but his staff lost family and they had a call to help clean up.
Mr Shirley and Donna are sitting tight hoping a buyer will snap up the bakery for it's $420,000 price tag.
"But I'm not holding my breath," Mr Shirley said. "It's a shocking time to sell."
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