‘Chicken man’ flies coop af­ter 40 years

South Western Times - - News - Stuart McGuckin

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.”

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