All 13 staff who were due to be laid off from Olivia’s Artisan Bakery in Darlington, County Durham, have retained their jobs following new investment.

Olivia’s Artisan Bakery, which supplied hotels, restaurants and cafés across the north east, endured a miserable Christmas as liquidators stepped in after it fell into financial difficulty.

However, a group of investors has now stepped in to buy the assets, re-employ the staff and create a new company called the Great Northern Bakehouse.

The new business will concentrate on the wholesale market and will continue to operate from its Morton Park premises.

“It’s great news and a great relief,” said head baker Ben Crackett. “It has been a difficult few months for all the staff at Olivia’s but everyone has been lifted by the new investment and we think the new company has a bright future.

“We spent Christmas worrying about whether or not we were going to be out of a job but, thankfully, that will not now be the case.”

Olivia’s had focused on the retail market, opening shops at a rapid rate in Northallerton, Stokesley, Thirsk, York and Gosforth, but it ran into cash flow problems, which forced its closure.

Charles May, the senior investor in the Great Northern Bakehouse, said: “The retail side of the business got into difficulty, but the wholesale side always made a profit, so we’ll be putting all our energies into growing that over the coming months and years.”

“The staff here have been outstanding during a difficult time, but they’re passionate about what they do and we are absolutely convinced about the quality of the breads and cakes that we make.

“We’re proud that our breads contain no additives or chemicals. We already supply lots of businesses across the north east and Yorkshire, including a Michelin-starred restaurant, hotels, shops and even a local university. We think this business has an exciting future.”

Managing director Ian Cross said the Great Northern Bakehouse would spend the first few months ensuring that core customers were happy with the quality and range of breads and cakes on offer: “Trying one of our breads is a different experience to eating some of the mass-produced stuff that is out there. We have big plans for the kind of breads we’re going to make in 2017 but, at this stage, we don’t want to give too much away.”