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Artisan bakery saved from closure

PUBLISHED: 11:28 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:06 25 October 2019

Luke Coathup, owner of The Green Grocers in Norwich’s Earlham House shops. Picture: Archant

Luke Coathup, owner of The Green Grocers in Norwich's Earlham House shops. Picture: Archant

Archant

A Norwich bakery has been saved from closure after being bought by a long-term fan of the business.

Luke Coathup, owner of organic and zero waste shop and cafe The Green Grocers. Picture: ArchantLuke Coathup, owner of organic and zero waste shop and cafe The Green Grocers. Picture: Archant

John (nicknamed Grimsby) and Sally Watt, owners of wholesalers the Pye Baker, announced in September that they would be stepping down after 12 years to enjoy more time together.

However following an outcry from the restaurant and café community the business has been taken on by Luke Coathup, owner of The Green Grocers in Norwich's Earlham House shops.

Mr Coathup already has a bakery to supply his organic shop and café, and has transferred the equipment and two members of staff from the Pye Baker's previous site in Aylsham Road to his Vauxhall Street kitchen.

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He said: "I've known Grimsby since I opened the Green Grocers ten years ago. We had a conversation and they asked if I'd like to buy any of the business, so I went away and did the maths and realised I could take on the Pye Baker brand as well as a baker and a driver."

Mr Coathup has contacted the Pye Baker's previous clients, and will initially be focussing on supplying the city centre.

"Everyone has been so relieved," he said. "It's so difficult to find a proper baker. I'm excited to get going. It's a safety net knowing the two members of staff we've brought over have been doing this for six years, so we can make sure the quality stays at the same standard."

As well as securing the jobs of two people, Mr Coathup said it was important to him to keep the independent food and drink sector in Norwich thriving.

"I think it's so important for independents to support each other because it's the only type of network we have," he said. "We've had Pye Baker customers driving down from north Norfolk to collect their bread because it's important for them to buy quality, independent bread.

"Although I'm focussing on the city centre for now I would like to expand Pye Baker back into north Norfolk. That wouldn't mean opening another site, it would mean potentially bringing on more drivers and bakers."

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