Work has begun on a new super bakery that will be four times the size of the one it’s replacing after it was destroyed by a fire.
The Village Bakery are creating the 210,000 sq ft production facility in Ash Road on Wrexham Industrial Estate which the company say will be the most modern in Europe.
Groundworks contractors are already on site and building work is due to start in the next month or so.
The site is just around the corner from the bakery that was devasted by the blaze on August 19.
Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the family firm’s bosses immediately vowed the company would bounce back to become even bigger and better in future.
The affected workers have been redeployed to the Village Bakery’s other three bakeries where production has been stepped up to maintain supplies to their customers
Another 30 of the staff displaced by the fire are now making a new range of American-style bagels, using a specialist production line imported from Canada.
The bagels are being sold by a well-known retailer in more than 600 of their UK stores.
According to the company, orders for other products are also rolling in because their wholesale customers have been so impressed by the positive way they have responded to the setback.
Managing Director Robin Jones Commented: “The new super bakery is a project we’ve had on paper for three years and is designed to grow our production capacity to cater for the huge demand for our products,
“With the fire at Wrexham, it makes sense to accelerate our plans to build the new bakery on the Ash Road site and get into this as soon as we possibly can.
“My brother Christien, the projects director, and his team are working flat out with the contractors to make sure that we can build it as soon as possible.
“Obviously our head office was destroyed so we are building a new office complex together with a new Baking Academy and a New Product Development kitchen that will be twice the size of the original.
“We are truly bowled over by the support that we’ve had from our customers, and the vision that we’ve been given by our customers. We need to grow the business and this will help us do that.
“The fantastic response of our customers and that fact that they want more of what we can make has given us the confidence to make this massive investment.
“One of the things that our customers have been really impressed with is the way we’ve responded from the word go.
“This is a testament to the brilliant team of bakers we have at the Village Bakery and I can’t praise our staff highly enough for the way they have responded to the challenge.
“As the bakery was burning down, we were making plans to move all production of white rolls into Coedpoeth and the following morning we delivered in full.
“I think that surprised some of our customers, and I think it’s certainly helped our relationship no end.
“We’ve already started making Welsh Cakes again and we’ve got scones coming back on stream in early January, followed by crumpets in March.
“We are finalising the design with our architects and the plan is to complete the build in phases.
“The experience of the fire has been a really painful one for all of us at the Village Bakery and we would never wish anything like this to happen to anybody else involved in the industry.
“But we are determined to turn an awful negative into a real positive that will help us future proof the Village Bakery.
“This new production facility will be able to give us huge additional capacity and that will mean more jobs. It’s about more than replacing what we’ve lost – this is going to be bigger and better.
“This will be a state-of-the-art bakery with most modern equipment available.
“It will be the absolute crème de la crème of bakeries in the UK and Europe.
Lesley Griffiths, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs who is also the AM for Wrexham, is delighted by the can do attitude of the Jones family who run the bakery.
She said: “It’s amazing to see the new plans, parts of which were in progress before the devastating fire that Village bakery suffered in August.
“But you can see it’s just business as usual here. They are getting on with things and there is a real determination that they are going to be bigger and better.
“The Village Bakery is a very resilient company. They’re a family company, and that shines through.
“They have customers who want to increase the amount of business they do with them so there is a very exciting future here.”
PHOTO: Lesley Griffiths AM Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Robin and Christien Jones. Picture Mandy Jones