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After the fire: rebuilding of Village Bakery under way

Village Bakery has revealed it is looking at two options for replacing the bakery that was devastated by fire in August.

A one-storey production area that produced crumpets and Welsh cakes was severely damaged by the blaze, which broke out on the morning of 19 August, and spread to the adjoining office block. None of the 450 staff at the family-owned business were injured.

The business has now engaged architects, who are looking at two possible options: either to rebuild on the original site in Wrexham; or on nearby land the company already owns and for which it already has planning permission.

“We have the full support of our insurance company and the new bakery will be up and running in record time,” said Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones.

In the meantime, production has been increased at the company’s other three bakeries to maintain supply to customers.

In three weeks’ time, the business plans to be making Welsh cakes and, in January, it will be producing scones with new equipment from the Netherlands. The company has already moved crumpet production to its free-from bakery site, where it has created a new, segregated production line.

“In a situation like this you’ve got to look at the positives, because that bakery was 10 years old and, while the equipment was state-of-the-art at the time, the progress that has been made since then has been phenomenal,” said Robin’s father, Village Bakery chairman Alan Jones.

“We have ordered three new lines, which are a big improvement on what we had, so there’s no doubt we’ll come out of it stronger and better.”

The company also praised its workers for how quickly they got the business back up and running after the fire.

“On the night of the fire, the team in Coedpoeth and the shift in Wrexham worked a miracle to ensure we were back in production with Marks & Spencer bread rolls, so we were able to deliver in full on the Tuesday morning,” said Robin. “Then, on the Tuesday night, we were back in business, making pancakes in Coedpoeth.”

He added that the company’s wholesale customers had been impressed with Village Bakery’s determination to resume production quickly.

“In the meantime, our priority is to ensure that we keep the skilled people we have by redeploying them where necessary, because we don’t want to lose them,” added Jones.

 

He also described the company’s suppliers as “amazing”.

“The equipment manufacturers have pulled out all the stops, while everybody in the supply chain has just stepped up to the plate – and we are ever so grateful.”

The local business community has also been generous, with Village Bakery receiving offers including office accommodation, photocopiers and air compressors.

“On the day of the fire, the local cafés brought down teas, coffees and soft drinks for the firefighters and for our staff. They also brought bacon butties,” said Jones. “It is only when disasters like this happen that you realise how genuine and generous people are.”

Robin Jones and his father both paid tribute to the Village Bakery workers.

“But you’re only as good as the people who work for you,” said Alan. “That will never change, and we are blessed with a team of fantastic staff.”


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