Trove 1 - Jordan Michael_resized

Source: Jordan Michael

The counter at Trove’s cafe in Ancoats, Manchester

Manchester-based sourdough specialist Trove has closed all four of its bakery cafés and coffee shops.

Owners of the artisan bakery business, which entered liquidation last month with a debt of more than £1.6m, confirmed the decision in a post on its Instagram page yesterday (5 June 2024).

“We wanted to leave a note here for everyone we have worked with over the years and the customers who supported us. Today we have sadly decided to close all Trove sites,’ wrote co-founders Marcus and Katy Saide. ‘We have been struggling mentally, physically and financially for a while, especially after Covid.”

Customers were alerted to issues within the business on 31 May, when they found the Ancoats shop closed with a Forfeiture of Lease notice posted on the door. Companies House filings on 20 May from Trove’s parent company Two Hexagons Ltd included a notice of appointment of liquidator and a winding up petition.

A statement of affairs for Two Hexagons showed that it owed a total of £1,652,852 to creditors, including £493k to a company called Slonne Ltd, over £39k to Ancoats landlord Bruntwood, £75k in unpaid energy bills, and more than £941k in unpaid tax. It also owed £24,900 to the Pensions Regulator’s debt recovery team.

Trove 3 - Jordan Michael_resized_right

Source: Jordan Michael

Trove’s bakery café offering

“Our failure has been trying to keep something going that we were emotionally attached to, when we should have ended it,” commented Trove on its Instagram post. “We are so sorry to any of our customers and employees who have felt let down.”

Trove was launched by husband-and-wife team Marcus and Katy in 2011, starting with a stall at Levenshulme Market in the southeast of Manchester before opening a café nearby on Stockport Road. In 2018, it added a second shop in Ancoats district, before opening a third location inside new city centre office development Bloc on Marble Street three years later.

Its website said the business was led by the traditional principles of additive-free, wild yeast sourdough baking, working with organic flours and seasonal flavours. The handcrafted range included sourdough products, traybakes, tarts, and sweet and savoury pastries, which took over 42 hours to make.

Last December, Trove announced the ‘end of an era’ as it closed the doors to its bakery production site at Crossley Park in Heaton Chapel, citing rising energy costs and other charges. At the time, the company assured its cafés would remain open and revealed it would introduce a fourth outlet in the town of Wilmslow to the south of Manchester, which opened at the start of this year.

Trading difficulties due to rising costs are behind a raft of recent closures of bakery shops across the nation. Five locations of Planet Doughnut across the West Midlands and the Northwest were shut, Project D has shuttered its flagship store in York after just six months as well as its shopping mall kiosk in Nottingham, and four out of five shops of Cheran’s Bakery around Kent were deemed unviable despite the firm smashing its crowdfunding target for estate expansion.