Jones Village Bakery’s new ‘super bakery’ in Wrexham is up and running less than two years after a devastating fire ripped through the previous production facility on the site.
Bread has started rolling off the production line at the 140,000 sq ft plant – which is four times the size of the one it has replaced – on Wrexham Industrial Estate. The bakery features a 120-metre-long ‘state-of-the-art’ manufacturing line which was imported from Italy and Holland and can make 36,000 bread rolls an hour.
As well as housing the company’s main offices, the new complex also includes a baking academy and NPD kitchen – both twice the size of the previous ones.
The business is now in the process of recruiting 115 new staff to meet demand for its products. It currently employs more than 400 people and has two other bakeries on the industrial estate and another in the nearby village of Minera. The latter took on the production of bread rolls following the fire in August 2019, with baked goods rolling out of the factory the same day.
Next generation bakery
Projects director Christien Jones, brother of managing director Robin Jones, oversaw the design, build, and equipping of the new bakery.
“This is a next generation bakery,” he said. “Because we started with a blank canvas, we have really pushed the boundaries. What we have here is the future of baking and we will be leading the market in the UK for some time to come. Essentially, we have future-proofed ourselves.
“On this site everything is bigger and better and we’re training more people to enable us to continue on our growth trajectory.”
He described the production line as “incredibly quiet” with no need for manual lifting and added that the bakery is climate controlled and uses soft lighting that is “kinder on the eye”.
“We purify all the air coming into the building, we HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filter all our air so it also helps our products’ shelf life. In the hotter areas where the ovens are, we ventilate so it doesn’t get overly hot,” he added.
Thirty-year-old Ashley Dawson was appointed manager of the new bakery earlier this year, six years after he joined the family firm as business sustainability and improvement executive.
“I feel honoured and privileged to be the captain of the ship so to speak,” Dawson said. “This is the most modern, high spec bakery in the UK if not Europe and everything here is to the highest possible standard so we can make the best products on the market.”
The Jones family has erected a sculpture outside the bakery to serve as a constant reminder of what it describes as the “indomitable spirit” that enabled it to recover so quickly. The sculpture is made from a steel girder that was bent by the intense heat of the blaze at the old bakery. It is accompanied by a plaque that reads: “This twisted metal girder was salvaged from the devastating fire that destroyed our flagship bakery on August 19, 2019. It is a lasting tribute to the heroic resilience shown by all the Village People when our darkest day turned into our finest hour.”