Long-serving catering equipment buyer, Allan Baron, has retired from Southport-based Kitchequip this week.

The 66-year old told Catering Insight: “I’ve gone a year past the official retirement age and that’s long enough for me, having worked for 50 years.”

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Baron entered the catering equipment industry in 1972, when he was employed in Modern Kitchen Equipment’s (MKE) pricing department.

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“It was a different world then; they didn’t have computers like we have now so we had to do the costing by hand,” he recalled.

Prior to that he tried his hand at working in a travel agent, a shoe shop and in accounting, which he described as “too boring” at that time!

He remained at MKE for 18 years, working his way up the ranks to a buyer position, until the company unfortunately entered liquidation in 1990, after having been in business since 1945.

Subsequently, he did throw his lot in with Alan Swerdlow, one of the two company directors (the other was Alan’s brother, Michael, who was also one of the founders of CEDA), as they tried to resurrect the company.

However, this enterprise only lasted for a couple of years and the final death knell sounded at the end of 1993.

Baron then went to work as an equipment buyer for Caterware from 1994 to 1999, after which he joined Kitchequip in the same role.

He said of his career: “It’s an interesting industry to have worked in and I have seen how it’s advanced over the years.

“Some products which were sold when I first started have not changed at all, but others and the business in general have changed a lot.

“The advent of technology has certainly changed the way things are done – much for the better.”

He believes that he has brought a lot of experience to the roles he’s held over the years, as well as having gathered many contacts in the sector. “People I’ve known over the years have tended to stay in the industry, even though they’ve moved companies,” he commented.

Of his 17 years at Kitchequip he said: “It’s a small, friendly company and since I’ve been here it has grown.

“I hope I have helped it to grow to what it is now and I think it’s going to expand even further in the future – it’s a well-respected outfit.”

Kitchequip MD, Iain Moir, certainly believes Baron has played his part: “Allan has worked tirelessly hard for Kitchequip as our buyer for 17 years to the very day; he started 17 May 1999 and left on 17 May 2016.

“I knew Allan originally from working together at MKE so we go a long way back.

“He has brought professionalism, accuracy and an eye for detail to the company from day one and we shall all miss him.

“We wish him a long and happy retirement, sharing good times with his wife Gillian and the passionate following of his beloved Everton. In which order of preference only Allan knows!

“Good luck Allan, and enjoy your retirement, from all your friends and colleagues at Kitchequip.”

Baron said he has no fixed plans for his retirement other than having a rest and “taking it easy”, though there may be some holidays on the horizon too.