For years people have been predicting the death of the high street. I very strongly object to the lack of support many councils give to small shops. It is a total reversal of the ethic that exists in the rest of Europe and much of Asia.

But our lead story this week about the changing face of the UK baking industry at least indicates that the decline in bakery shops has halted. In fact there is a slight increase in the number of shops, if not manufacturers (pg 4).

But are you a retailer first and a baker second or the other way around? Bob Cardona (pg 22) believes you have to face up to the reality of being a retailer first. I have very mixed feelings about this. Yes, your shop says so much about you and your goods. It should visually state if you care about fresh, trendy, hygienically produced goods. On the other hand, if I don’t enjoy the baked offering itself there is no way I would return.

But thinking about your shop design is vitally important and I hope our ’facelift’ feature gives you some ideas. Apart from the baked goods themselves I always notice lighting. I love a well lit (not garish) shop or in-store. It makes for a highly inviting ambience.

Nowadays the baked goods themselves do not just need to include American or Italian influences but often, like Morrisons, Polish, Greek and Jewish (pg 4). Do you know the current make-up of your community? Could you be missing out on sales? Word spreads fast in local communities and smaller bakers have flexibility.

If you want to be aware of the latest bakery and equipment then do come and see us at Baker’s Fair North West (pg 14). Many bakers and confectioners have registered to attend, including several from Devon and Scotland, as well as those of you who live locally.

And there will be live demonstrations of how to decorate wedding cakes from members of the renowned Richemont Club. This comprises passionate and talented confectioners who will be pleased to share their techniques and tips with show visitors.

So do come and bring your colleagues. Help make it a great bakery day out. The British Baker team and I hope to see you at the Bolton Arena on Sunday October 14.