Marshfield Bakery is aiming to double its turnover in the next three years. It’s an ambitious target but, if the past four years are anything to go by, this is a business well and truly on the rise.
Although wryly begrudging the loss of small business status and, with it, entitlement to government grants, Marshfield has seen 25% to 30% year-on-year growth for the past four years. This brought the need for an extension that was completed last year and has created space for more equipment, staff and storage.
It’s a very different to Marshfield’s origins in the home of Lynne and Paul White, parents of current sales director Ben White.
“My mother was teaching home economics at what was then City of Bristol College,” he says. “The business started in our farmhouse kitchen, where she made flapjacks, shortbreads, biscuits and loaf cakes.”
The business expanded at that site, and again when the family moved house in 1987.
It again outgrew its surroundings, prompting a move to the current location, which is on Cotswolds Way and easily accessible from the M4. The business secured the site “by asking local farmers if they had any land or buildings we could use – we have always had a rural ethos and wanted to remain as true to that as we could.”
In 2008 the ribbons were cut by HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the site opened its doors. There is now a shop, an office and the newly-extended bakery all under one pristine white roof.
The extension has been “revolutionary,” says Ben, and has enabled the business to have a dedicated wash room, new product development kitchen and room for bigger and better ovens – along with space for further work stations and staff during busy periods, such as Christmas.
“The business is becoming less seasonal as time goes on, but there’s definitely still that element to it,” says Ben.
Customers include hotels, shops, restaurants and supermarkets nationwide, and the business has a three-year plan in place for further growth.
“We want to double our turnover in that time by further improving efficiency, expertise and employees. All of those things are great now, but I know we are capable of more,” says Ben.
“We like to recruit two or three years in advance so we have a surplus of staff before we grow, and then when all hands are needed on deck, each pair of hands knows exactly what it is doing.”
Ben aims to achieve sustainable growth by reviewing product lines and “honing it down to what sells best”.
Founders Lynne and Paul still drop in to keep an eye on proceedings. But for the most part they “are happy to step back and admire the fruits of our combined labour”, says Ben, adding with a smile, “and I’m very much enjoying that too.”
Marshfield Bakery, Wiltshire
Who: 50-plus staff, some of who have been there for 30 years, with managing director Chris Smith (above left) and sales director Ben White (above right) at the helm. Co-founders Paul and Lynne White still keep an eye on proceedings.
What: Marshfield describes itself as an ambient traybake manufacturer, and supplies to restaurants, hotels, shops and supermarkets nationwide. It currently manufactures more than 15 different shortbread and flapjack flavours, as well as loaf cakes, sponges, brownies and biscuits, all influenced by the local area.
Why: It was founded on a single butter-shortbread recipe in Lynne White’s kitchen
Where: Tolldown Barn, Cotswold Way, near Dyrham, Wiltshire
When: Founded in 1984