The closure of Cosson’s Bakery in Harold Hill offered Simon Cosson the opportunity for a refresh.
“It was a small joint on a council estate in Romford,” he says, “We knew we needed more space.”
A compulsory purchase order from the local authorities gave Cosson the push the business needed and, six months later, he was handed the keys to a new bakery, a former aquatic shop, in Wickford, Essex. Since then it has been one high after another – from the queue that lasted for five hours on opening day to the constant compliments from customers alongside sell-out items.
“We are just so honoured, humbled, happy and grateful for the welcome the local community has given us,” he says.
While the bakery’s reputation preceded it, the business took the move as a chance to mix things up, from the logo to the equipment and even some menu items. “There are many differences from the back street to the high street,” he explains. “My mum runs the shop, while dad and I handle all the production and the bakery.”
With a much higher footfall, Cosson aims to bring a friendly atmosphere on a larger scale to the local community. This starts with the shop fit, complete with viewing window so customers can catch the action, to the blend of refurbished and new equipment.
“I’m a baker, not a designer, so it was great to have the expertise of [retail designers] Dollar Rae to visualise how the new bakery should look in a way that would reflect what I wanted – a contemporary craft bakery that integrates traditional bakery methods with a vibrant and modern environment,” he adds.
This ethos is also reflected in the products. Traditional white, malted and sourdough loaves grace the menu next to lavish mocha rum or caramel pecan cheesecakes as part of the weekly ‘Cheesecake Chuesday’ celebration. However, Cosson says, “We’re famous for our doughnuts”, so it’s a classic jam doughnut that often steals the show.
More customers mean more demands, however. “The other day a woman asked if our doughnuts were fried in rapeseed oil,” he says. “I’d never been asked that before.”
Recipes now include a number of gluten-free items to cater to local demand, including bread from a pre-mix, cookies, lemon polenta cake and banana bread.
As for the future, Cosson concludes: “I just hope that we can continue in the vein of the Harold Hill shop, and ‘Chapter 2’ of Cosson’s will see me through to my retirement.”
Cosson’s Bakery & Patisserie, Wickford
Who: Simon Cosson (pictured right), owner, runs the bakery with help from his parents Raquel and Tony, alongside a small dedicated team of staff.
What: This former aquatic shop was transformed with the help of Dollar Rae into a modern bakery and patisserie.
Where: 62 High Street, Wickford, Essex SS12 9AT
When: The shop opened in August 2017.
Why: The original Cosson’s Bakery in Harold Hill, established in 1980 by Simon’s parents, was hit with a compulsory purchase order in 2016. Not ready to retire, the business was relocated. “I am Wickford born and bred, so I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be back in my old stomping ground, making fresh bread, cakes and pastries for the local community”.
...On-site - Cosson’s BakeryViewing windoworiginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 360width 640camerasoftware paint.net 4.0.17Logooriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 360width 640camerasoftware paint.net 4.0.17Centrepieceoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 360width 640camerasoftware paint.net 4.0.17Mono Fusion Bread Plant with conical moulderoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 360width 640camerasoftware paint.net 4.0.17Harmony deck ovensoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 360width 640camerasoftware paint.net 4.0.17Product mixoriginaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 360width 640camerasoftware paint.net 4.0.17
Viewing window: “I wanted to create a sense of theatre. When I was a kid, I saw a similar thing in Belgium. They were proud of what they do and wanted to show it off. So do we.”
Logo: A fresh start for a new shop. “I wanted branding that was a complete diversification from our old bakery image and which made a definitive statement on the high street.”
Centrepiece: “We have bespoke cabinets, built to the highest standards, and colour-coded to create a bright, clean atmosphere. Until now, we couldn’t warrant such an investment.”
Mono Fusion Bread Plant with conical moulder: “I am delighted with all of the equipment we bought for this new project. You get what you pay for – it was worth every penny.”
Harmony deck ovens: Cosson’s has a five-deck oven and a four-deck, both three trays wide, situated next to a Mono BX Classic Convection Oven and a Mono Tabletop Doughnut Fryer.
Product mix: Alongside a selection of buns, doughnuts and bread, Cosson’s mixes things up; ‘Cheesecake Chuesday’ offers a different flavour every week, including caramel pecan.