A fast-growing bakery has secured an investment deal to fuel major expansion plans which will create 115 new jobs.
The owners of the family-run Village Bakery are retaining a material investment in the company, which is due to open a new super bakery on Wrexham Industrial Estate this summer.
The business will continue to be run by the existing management team, headed by Robin Jones, the managing director, and his brother Christien, the projects director, with their father, Alan, stepping down as chairman after 60 years in the bakery industry.
The Village Bakery is being backed by Limerston Capital, a UK private equity firm that invests in ambitious, medium-sized businesses and teams to turn them into industry leaders.
According to Robin Jones, the Village Bakery had many potential suitors wanting to buy in to the company’s success story but Limerston Capital was the ideal fit.
Mr Jones said: “This is an exciting milestone in the history of the Village Bakery and one that will enable us to capitalise on our growth potential so we can reach the next level in terms of growth.
“It was really important to the family that we found the right partner and Limerston Capital are the perfect fit because our ambitions are well matched.
“Limerston Capital very quickly understood what the Village Bakery is all about in terms of our ethos and recognised we have a fantastic team of employees and a highly motivated management team with decades of bakery experience.
“For our part, as a family, we like that the investment in the company is coming from such a trusted, ethical and reliable source.”
The new super bakery on Ash Road has been designed and built with growth in mind. It will be 140,000 sq feet – that is more than three times the size of the one it is replacing following a devastating fire in August 2019.
As well as housing the company’s headquarters, the new premises will also be home to their pioneering Baking Academy and Innovation Centre – both twice the size of the original versions – to train a new generation of bakers and develop new products.
The resilience, ingenuity and ambition shown by the company and their “wonderful workforce” in bouncing back from the disaster 18 months ago were among the reasons Limerston was attracted to the Village Bakery.
James Paget, a Limerston Capital Founding Partner, said: “We are delighted to partner with Robin and Christien Jones and will be supporting them as they continue to invest in Wrexham, recruit more people locally and further develop the Village Bakery’s position as a centre of baking excellence and innovation.
“From our first visits to Wrexham, it was clear that the Village Bakery was not only already producing the highest quality baked goods but had a clear vision to expand capacity and reach new customers.
“The resilience of the staff and management and the commendable commitment of key customers in the aftermath of the fire evidenced the Village Bakery as a business of outstanding quality in an exceptionally competitive sector.”
The company, which has three other bakeries in the Wrexham area, already employs more than 530 people.
Robin Jones added: “The whole point of securing the extra investment is to fund future growth because we’re doing really well at the moment and our products are in great demand. This will help us realise our potential.
“We invested in 22 acres of land over five years ago to build the new bakery and it represents a massive investment which also includes a nature reserve, with six acres of woodland dating back to the 17th century and two ponds to provide habitat for wildlife.
“The bakery will be over 140,000 sq ft and will be kitted out with the very best equipment, making it one of the most modern bakeries in Europe.
“The Village Bakery is on an upward trajectory of growth. Our Baking Academy and Innovation Centre are central to our plans going forward and our partnership with Limerston Capital will help us build on our solid foundations for future growth.
“Meanwhile, after 60 years as a baker, Dad has earned a well-deserved retirement and we want to thank him for everything he has achieved in transforming a craft bakery employing 15 staff into a multi-award winning business, generating hundreds of new jobs and supplying high quality products to some of the best known names in UK retail as well as our own Village Bakery branded products”.
Retiring chairman Alan Jones said: “This is exactly the right time for me to step down because the Village Bakery is entering a new and exciting chapter in its growth and development. I am happy and content that the company is in safe hands.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by project director Christien Jones who said: “This is also great news for the town and the local economy.
The new bakery will safeguard our existing 530 employees and will help us create up to another 115 jobs by 2023.
“We are still, at heart, a family firm of craft bakers and we are excited about this new chapter in the history of the Village Bakery.
“Under the leadership of the management team, together with our great staff staff, we have created some magic here and we want to continue to nurture it and enjoy that going into the future.
“The new bakery is going to help us reach new heights and we are focused on being the best we can be and creating a new benchmark in terms of high-quality baking.”