Six jobs have been saved at Dorset-based Williams The Baker, including in production of its Dorset Flapjacks range, despite the ceasing of operations at its original onsite bakery.
Following the sudden passing of owner Clive Williams in June last year, an announcement was made that the 96-year-old family-run bakery business in Wool, Dorset, would close on Christmas Eve.
However, the latest news is that the Williams family is to continue running the Dorset Flapjacks brand while leasing its corner shop to local entrepreneur Neil Holland, who operates two foodservice businesses in nearby Swanage.
Clive’s son Jonathan Williams confirmed that they would maintain the Dorset Flapjacks range of 18 different flavours – including Traditional, Cherry Bakewell, Banoffee, Cappuccino, Vanilla Fudge, Yoghurt, and Triple Chocolate – and were also looking at expanding it to be able to get back into Europe again.
“Brexit caused a few headaches with restrictions on international shipments and added costs to EU customers but we are hopeful with some hard work and some product innovation we can get some of this business back,” he commented.
At its peak, Williams The Baker operated an estate of six bakery shops across South Dorset and employed over 100 people.
Holland claimed his father’s side of the family had been regular customers of the shop in Wool, which compelled him to step in to save it after hearing about its impending closure. He said he had managed to work out a solution following discussions with Jonathan and Clive’s brother Bruce that would mean the shop would “remain open for the villagers, workers and tourists alike”.
Holland also revealed the shop had been upgraded whilst shut over the Christmas holidays, adding new equipment including a barista coffee machine along with the introduction of new bakery products including a gluten-free range upon reopening on 2 January.
“The ladies that currently run the shop are the heartbeat to the business,” he said. “They have been kept informed every step of the way, and are very happy with the proposed changes as well as retaining their roles into the future. I know how popular they are with the customers and how much the village means to them.”
Holland also noted the potential of business growth in the future through the addition of a “cosy cafe to the side”, similar to his existing McAllisters café lounge in Swanage, which is named after his grandfather.