The Craft Business Award
Published:  19 September, 2008

Winner The Village Bakery

(Coedpoeth), Wrexham

The Village Bakery (Coedpoeth) was established in 1964 and is still owned and run by the Jones family. It produces premium breads, morning goods, savouries and bespoke products, which are sold through its five shops and to a number of wholesale customers, including Marks & Spencer, sandwich producers and local independents.

Joint managing director Tim Jones says the firm strives for excellence in everything it does. "Local sourcing has become all the rage," he adds, "but we have been doing it for many years, as we understand how important provenance is to our customers."

The judges picked up on this and also cited the firm's "passion for products" and the quality of its entire operation as primary reasons for selecting the company as winner in this category.

Finalist Slattery Patissier and

Chocolatier

Whitefield, Manchester

A combination of bakery, dining room, chocolatier and training centre, Slattery is, says director Laura Slattery: "A truly unique business - a 'destination' rather than a shop. People can spend hours here, eating, learning and enjoying."

It's 17 years since John Slattery moved away from the family baker's shops to set up his wedding cake business. Now, the company employs 60 staff and, last year, boasted a turnover of £2 million.

Laura Slattery joined the firm after gaining a degree in business studies and provides 'backroom' support, from handling customer enquiries to working out staff rotas and even making sandwiches!

"I think this is a genuine craft business," she says. "We use no machinery; everything is handmade and the staff highly skilled. We're also very customer responsive and take pride in acting on their suggestions."

Finalist Mathiesons Bakeries

Larbert, Central Scotland

Established in 1872, Mathiesons is still a family-owned business. With 32 retail units, the company also serves wholesale customers including Asda, Spar and Marks & Spencer and boasts a £10 million turnover.

Mathiesons' range includes savouries, which are baked-off in-store, breads and morning rolls, and it is renowned for its vanilla slices, chocolate éclairs and Scotch pies.

"Craft is the essence of what we do," comments Catriona Stevenson, head of retail operations. "We have 450 staff across the bakery and shops and we ensure they are all highly trained.

"Everything is hand-finished in the bakery. In fact we're an SAMB training site and have produced training materials which are used by the industry."

She adds that, at Mathiesons, quality is king and it is never compromised.




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