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André Sarafilovic and his wife Rona in white jackets and hats in a bakery

Source: Stephens Bakery

André Sarafilovic and his wife Rona

Winner: André Sarafilovic, managing director, Stephens Bakery

André Sarafilovic has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, offering his services to various trade bodies and organisations as well as running a hugely successful business and creating a charity to help give back to the local community.

He joined his family bakery business at the age of 16, and having gained his qualifications and some experience, he ventured east to gain further experience with Stephens Bakery. There he would meet his future wife and business partner and in 1986 he married Rona Terris, the daughter of Ian Terris who owned Stephens. It wasn’t long before André saw the potential in Stephens and decided to buy the business so that he and Rona could build it together.

André has been something of a trailblazer at the helm of Stephens. He has grown the business from a few shops in Dumferline to a much larger one with 13 shops and over 160 convenience partnerships with Co-op, Scotmid, McColl’s and independents.

Shortly after the millennium, he designed and built a modern bakery that would put the infrastructure in place to be one of the top bakeries in the country. Always one to be looking ahead, he has been early to market with many ventures throughout his career. He introduced salad bars into shops in the 1980s when many thought it was mad, he was one of the first in the industry to scale up a jiffy van operation, he was the first to go into partnership with convenience stores, and he opened the UK’s first standalone bakery drive-through.

Always keen to lend a helping hand – be it with fermentation or IT, as he is suspected to be one of the few who know their way around both – he has forged many close relationships over the years.

His awards and accolades in the baking industry are numerous and include Scottish Baker of the Year and Centenary Baker of the Year. He has served Scottish Bakers as president and he remains the longest standing board member of the association. He is also a longstanding member of the British Society of Bakery and the British Confectioners’ Association, as well as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Bakers.

As well as his many years contributing to the baking industry, André launched the Stephens Foundation in 2018 to give back to the local communities in which his business operates, and in only four years, his charity has given away over £130,000 to local causes, as well as supporting 35 breakfast clubs in schools to make sure no child starts the day hungry.

Despite many noteworthy achievements, he considers his biggest one to be keeping 240 loyal staff in employment throughout economic crashes and the pandemic. The fact his business Stephens Bakery, which he now enjoys running with his children Sean and Talia, will celebrate its 150th anniversary next year is testament to his talent for business and passion for the industry.