Future 50: Award-winning bakery to open two more sites this year
- Credit: Rosie Mills-Smith
Artisan bakery Bread Source plans to open another two sites in Norfolk this year – following its recent move to larger premises in Aylsham.
Bread Source was founded in 2012 by award-winning baker Steven Winter and his wife Hannah, starting with a small unit on Red Lion Street in Aylsham before opening four sites in Norwich. It has now secured another small site on Magdalen Street in Norwich – which it hopes to open within the next two months – with another undisclosed location to follow later in the year.
“Magdalen Street is our first freehold, which we hope to be the first of many,” said Steven. “Then next year we'll be looking at other parts of Norfolk, and possibly Suffolk as well.”
“We are particularly interested in market towns which have got a really vibrant community,” said operations manager George Brentnall.
In March, Bread Source moved its Aylsham bakery to a larger premises in the Grade II listed former Clarkes building on the town’s Market Place. “That was a really important milestone for us – and exactly what we want to do going forward,” said Steven. “We don’t want to be off the main street; we want to be in amongst it and give people a place to meet up, sit and relax.”
However, the bakery will remain the heart and soul of the business. “We really don't want to be known as a café,” said Steven, who won Baker of the Year at the Baking Industry Awards 2020. “We will give you chairs and we will give you a plate – but we don’t cook to order. Our counter and our service are everything to us.”
The new Aylsham premises is already proving popular with both locals and existing customers. “The feedback from those customers has been really good – and that’s really important to us because they have helped build Bread Source to where it is,” said George.
“We didn’t want to go from the local shop that provided them with their bread to a bigger, flashier premises that sells out of bread by 12 o'clock and doesn't offer the same experience and local connection.”
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Bread Source has also continued the delivery service that it launched at the start of the pandemic, when it was forced to close its shops. “During lockdown, we became more convenient than supermarkets because people couldn’t get a delivery slot,” said George. “We suddenly went from being a classic artisan bakery – opening at 8am, closing at 3pm and selling out at 1pm – to thinking about how can we be open when people need us.”
Within a week of launching online deliveries, the company was receiving up to 200 orders a day. It now does around 20 to 30 deliveries a day – helping it expand its reach beyond Aylsham and Norwich. “We are now open 7am-6pm across most of our sites and have kept the online service going, because it makes it so much easier for customers who can't get down to us,” said George.
The company also launched on Deliveroo last year. “That’s opened us up to a different type of customer and also allows us to test out something we will probably want to do ourselves in the future – which is to offer some sort of instant delivery or click-and-collect system,” George added.
Further developments include a new vegan range, launched in March, and plans for evening opening at the Bridewell Alley bakery in Norwich – with alcoholic drinks, small plates and events. “The evenings are really about the experience side of the business,” said George. “As we go into the summer and lighter evenings, it’s a good time to get that up and running.”
For more information, visit www.bread-source.co.uk