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Norwich's Pye Baker shop announces closure after four years

PUBLISHED: 10:49 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:43 22 March 2019

John Grimbsy Watts has announced he is closing the Pye Baker site in Dereham Road. Photo by Simon Finlay.

John Grimbsy Watts has announced he is closing the Pye Baker site in Dereham Road. Photo by Simon Finlay.

An artisan Norwich bakery shop has announced it is closing its doors.

Pye Baker of Norwich in Dereham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPye Baker of Norwich in Dereham Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

John – known as Grimsby after his home town – Watts has announced he is closing the Pye Baker site in Dereham Road, after footfall through the shop began to decline.

However, his wholesale bakery, in Aylsham Road, will continue to operate as normal.

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Mr Watts has said he wanted to close the shop while it was still on top. Photo by Simon Finlay.Mr Watts has said he wanted to close the shop while it was still on top. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Mr Watts, who opened the business 11 years ago, said: “In the catering industry you see a lot of people going bankrupt and leaving suppliers out of pocket. A lot of the time we end up chasing people for payments.

“We wanted to go out while we were on top with people having fond memories of the bakery and all of our suppliers paid.”

Mr Watts works alongside his wife Sally. They supply sites across Norfolk including Norwich’s Assembly House.

“I don’t think there’s just one thing which we can say was the reason demand started falling,” he added. “It’d be easy to blame it on Brexit and the uncertainty around that but I don’t think you can pinpoint it on just one thing.”

The Dereham Road shop had one permanent member of staff and five part-timers.

The shop had been open for four years and the decision was made to act upon a break clause with the landlord.

Mr Watts said: “This wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly, and I don’t like to have to let people go.

“But we don’t want to be one of those businesses that sits and waits for demand to turn around, and then if it doesn’t, go bankrupt.”

Mr Watts has 15 members of staff including bakers, pastry chef, drivers and cleaners based out of the wholesale bakery.

“When I first started the business it was just me selling loaves out of my car. Now we’ve got vans going out all over Norfolk, it’s a very wide net,” he added.

“For the time being I just want to focus on the wholesale aspect of the business, as well as doing the farming markets, festivals and shows as we always have done.”

He added: “But I get bored quickly, so it won’t be long before I want to try something else.”

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