Born & Bread: Turner’s Pies

West Sussex-based company Turner’s Pies evolved from the popularity of a steak and kidney recipe sold in Bognor Regis to a full-blown retail operation with four shops and an online delivery service.

Eva and Reginald Turner (pictured above) began making and selling pies at the Commerical Hotel in Bognor Regis in 1933. Eva’s steak and kidney recipe became renowned in the town and their three children – Terence, Elizabeth and Pip – learned the trade early.

After helping his parents out for many years, in 1985 Pip and his wife started making pies from their own home to sell to local butchers and delicatessens. The first Turner’s Pies shop and production facility opened in 1990 on Hawthorn Road, Bognor Regis, where it has remained for almost 30 years.

In 2006, after completing a diploma in construction, Pip’s son Phil started working at the bakery to earn money while figuring out his next career move. He says he became obsessed with everything pie-related and realised the business had a lot of unlocked potential. So, in 2009, in line with his parents’ retirement, he took over the family business with the help of his brothers Joseph and Peter.

Phil explains that, on taking over, it was vital he understood what worked and what didn’t, and what changes to make to drive the business forward. Previously staffed exclusively by the family, building a team of trustworthy staff was key, as were training, marketing, branding and product development.

2010 saw the purchase of the site next door to its existing pie shop to double the size of its production and retail areas. In 2011, production moved into a dedicated pie-making kitchen in Littlehampton and, in the same year, Turner’s won a plethora of awards, including British Pie Champion at the British Pie Awards.

In 2013, the business was named in the top 50 UK foods by the Guild of Fine Foods for its Steak and Stilton pie – both that and its Steak and Ale Pie achieved three-star Great Taste Awards. Its products were then chosen to be stocked in Harrods’ food hall.

The second pie shop opened in Rustington in 2014, selected because of its great community, explained Phil. The third followed in 2017, this time in the city of Chichester, and the pie-making facility moved to a larger premises to accommodate this. The fourth store, in Worthing, followed in 2018.

This year Turner’s was awarded Supreme Champion at the British Pie Awards. It has also launched its Pies by Post service, delivering chilled pies to those unable to make it to one of the shops, and has added a gluten-free line to meet demand.

Timeline

1933 Eva and Reginald Turner make and sell their first pies at a hotel in Bognor Regis (pictured)

1990 Turner’s first pie shop opens in Bognor Regis

2009 Third-generation family member Phil Turner takes over the business

2011 Turner’s pie-making moves to Littlehampton

2013 Department store Harrods begins selling Turner’s Pies

2014 Second shop opens in Rustington

2017 Third shop opens in Chichester

2018 Fourth shop opens in Worthing and the Pies by Post service is launched

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