Dave Whelan, owner and MD of Pooles of Wigan pie business, is spending a massive £12m expanding his pie factory.
He told British Baker: "We have already invested £6m in new equipment from Rademaker and further equipment is now on order. We are in talks with all the major supermarkets to launch new ranges of Pooles Pies, both savoury and fruit, for the frozen cabinets. I am aiming to double turnover to £20m within two years. We have already visited custo-mers and had very good feedback. I want the Pooles Pies brand to become known nationwide."
The existing 235,000sq ft plant in Pemberton, Wigan, employs a 70-strong workforce, which he says may double.
Whelan already supplies Morrisons nationwide and Asda branches in the north west, as well as football grounds and other corporate accounts, with savoury and fruit pies, sausage rolls, savoury slices and pasties, many for bake-off in-store.
He said: "There is a big gap in the market for quality pies. Though price is a big talking point at the moment, people will still pay a bit more for quality. I believe they will cut down on expensive ready meals and move more towards quality basics, such as good pies. We have been making pies for over 200 years in Wigan and Pooles has won the Premier League Best Pie Award for the past three years. Six pie companies have gone into receivership in the last six months, but we are highly modern and automated."
Pooles has also added extra freezer capacity to store the new output of 25,000 pies per hour.
Whelan, who was born in Bradford and founded the JJB sports chain, sold his 29% for £190m last year, but bought back £5m-worth of shares when they dipped to £1 at the start of 2008. He is chairman of Wigan Athletic Football Club and has owned the pie company for over 16 years.
=== In Short ===
== Sustainable bakery forum outlined ==
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== Farewell to Oliver Adams chairman ==
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