‘Chicken man’ flies coop after 40 years
After nearly 40-years as Bunbury’s “chicken man”, Bob Northey has sold the last of his four chicken treat stores and retired.
Mr Northey handed over the keys to his store at the Homemaker Centre Bunbury and worked his last shift on November 29.
“It’s been a little bit strange after 40 years of running around nonstop,” he said.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get it out of my system.
“It will take me a long time to stop looking at how many cars are in the drive through to see how they are going.
“We’ve had a lot of regular customers and I hope they continue to support the new owners.”
Mr Northey opened his first store on Spencer Street – which has since relocated to the Homemaker Centre – at the age of 25 and went on to run stores at Minninup Forum, Australind and Eaton.
“I originally thought I’d be in the business for five years and then I’d get out,” he said.
“Then I just kept extending that five years.”
The 65-year-old said not much had changed during his time.
“The menu has changed quite a bit,” he said. “We sell a lot more burgers and things like that now but there is still a lot of chicken products up there.”
Having spent much of his 40 years eating from the menu at least once a day, he knows it very well.
“I used to have our spicy fried chicken with a few chips every day, that was a bit of a favourite,” he said.
It will be the people that Mr Northey will miss the most.
“We’ve had 1000s of staff come through our stores over the years,” he said.
“We’ve been able to watch them grow up, a few have gone into business and there has even been a few that have met their partner while working for us and gone on to get married.”
He and his wife Cheryl are unsure of what their plans are for the future, but opportunities for overdue holidays will likely be among them.
“It was just time to finish up after 40 years,” he said.
“We’ve already spent a week up the coast but there isn’t any official plans in place – no doubt my wife has a few plans in mind though.
“It will take some time to get a handle on it all – we’ll see how quickly I get bored.”