Do you remember the old story books that began with "Once upon a time"? Just sit back, for a moment, and relax…
Once upon a time there was a pleasant land of no supermarket chains, no national chain of Blue Shops, just pretty English villages full of mullioned windowed shops offering the unflustered shopper a myriad of wares. This is a land where the less hurried shopper actually stops mid-street and chats to each other, passing the time of day, all surrounded by beautiful, and rolling countryside green hills… of Somerset.
My fellow BCA members, and I, were treated to view a business in the heart of what would be termed as quintessential England recently.
Burns the Bread is a wonderful business owned by Robert Burns and his close family. A lovely play on words, a little comedic perhaps, but works so well with his business and his customers alike, ably supported by his partner and daughter Terri and his two grandsons. What an amazing support network for the future generations? It adds to the longevity of the business going forward.
One of the greatest assets of being a BCA member is having the privilege to tour each members business. I was very fortunate to be on the tour and one matter which I found very impressive was how many of his customers spoke to him using his first name. Obviously a well-liked and respected man within his community, en-route Robert did confide in me that he really likes the village life and likes to support the community where possible.
The bakery business is situated in Glastonbury town centre, with the bakery being behind the Glastonbury shop, and with a further five shops sprinkled across the picturesque villages and small towns of Somerset. Really picture postcard vistas everywhere you look.
Robert says, however, that when the hordes of festival visitors come to the area, the shop goes quiet, as people tend to stay away. The Olympic effect on London I suppose, which is understandable.
What immediately strikes you is the "family feel and its influence", where everybody is on first named terms and very pleasant with it, just wanting to share with us what it was like working with the family.
The back of shop hygiene standards were of equal high standards as was the product quality on sale in all the shops.
We were all treated to a "Torsey Moresy" a what, I hear you cry? So christened by Sandra, Robert’s wife, a wonderfully moist fruit cake with simply oodles of flavour and character, and is a must with some mature cheese. We actually went past Wykes Cheese Dairies on route; maybe they do know a thing or two?
Our visit to this wonderful business soon came to an end and our trek north had to be endured once again. I commented to my son Stephen, "Makes you wonder who’s got it right?" when we finally navigated the road works at Birmingham, Knutsford, and then tried to circumnavigate Wigan.
“Once upon a time eh…”