A Northamptonshire craft baker has opened brand-spanking new premises thanks to a timely injection of some much-needed dough, writes Anna Murby.
Vicky Robertson, a specialist gluten-free producer of cakes, pies, pastries and snack products, has recently merged her award-winning businesses – Most Marvellous Baking and The Happy Little Cake Company – to create The Little Bakery of Happiness.
Its doors opened in Wellingborough’s Nene Court after receiving a grant of just over £3,000 from FEAST2 (Food Enterprise Advisory Support Team).
Vicky, who has seen the demand for her delicious sweet and savoury treats steadily rise since she started baking professionally in 2013, has simply outgrown her domestic kitchen and has been searching for some considerable time for suitable premises in the county from which to extend the business: “Baking at home was okay at first but it became increasingly difficult to keep up with demand. Having reached maximum capacity from my home setup, I was unable to expand my offering to existing customers let alone take on those other cafés, delis and catering outlets wanting me to supply them too” explained Vicky.
“Thankfully, my new kitchen, with its bigger ovens, mixers and fridges, which have been part-funded by the grant, means I will able to increase my production capacity by some 300% and hopefully spread a little more happiness, bake by bake, as is my mission.
“The grant funding from FEAST2 has ultimately helped me to kit out the bakery to the standard I needed to make the move to dedicated premises really work for me as quickly as possible. It will undoubtedly assist me in addressing the issues I have with demand outstripping supply and further down the line it will mean I can look to take on staff to help drive the business forward in line with my plans for the future” she added.
Which isn’t to say that Vicky’s culinary talents having already attracted wider attention. In addition to her winning numerous titles in the local Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, her products have gained national glory in the Free From Food Awards, Great Taste Awards, British Pie Awards and Cheese Accompaniment Awards, with one even seeing off an entry from Tesco to win the savoury snacks category in the Good Choice! Quality Food Awards in 2016.
FEAST2, which offers access to grant funding, technical support, sector events and mentoring to eligible food and drink manufacturers, was awarded to the Food & Drink Forum and is worth £3,934,176 in total. It will receive a further £1,967,089 in funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
For more details of FEAST2, including registering your business for the free support on offer, please contact Amanda Askew at The Mallows Company on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Little Bakery of Happiness opens its doors this Friday 2nd August. For more details, including opening times, please visit www.facebook.com/thelittlebakeryofhappiness or call Vicky on 07855 301975.