West Midlands baker comes to Firkins’ rescue

21 April, 2006
Page 5 

Ian Bolderston and Susan Ellwood

Birmingham bakery chain M Firkin has been rescued from administration by baker Ian Bolderston, in a deal supported by flour miller Heygates and completed on April 12.
The sale of Firkins’ 54 shops across the West Midlands and its West Bromwich bakery secures over 300 jobs, and comes after Firkins called in administrators BDO Stoy Hayward in January.Mr Bolderston, who also owns the three-shop Wollaston Bakery chain, based in Wollas-ton, West Midlands, said he was looking forward to putting the well-known Firkins chain “back on the straight and narrow”.Miller Heygates, which supplies Wollaston Bakery, put up some of the funding for the deal, and the rest of the undisclosed sum was his own money or came from banks, he said.He told British Baker that he plans to keep all the Firkins stores and its bakery open, and even expand the chain in the future. He described the business as sound, with a very loyal and hardworking staff, saying it just needed tweaking. “I plan to run the business as before, with improvements in areas such as the retail environment, marketing and displays. I will also improve the range,” he said.Sales had been extremely strong, even when the company was in administration, he added. Existing management, including former MD Susan Ellwood, one of the family members behind the 180-year-old Firkin business, have been kept on to ensure continuity. Mr Bolderston is now MD.The Wollaston Bakery, set up 10 years ago, will be run as a financially separate enterprise.



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