Bakery business on a roll with new premises and workforce expansion

A family-run bakery in a Warwickshire village has expanded into bigger premises and recruited 20 employees after receiving economic recovery support.

Bruno’s Bakery has been embedded in the Studley community since it was created by Brian and Joanne Knight in 1990 but had long-reached capacity at its premises in High Street.

During the height of the pandemic, following a referral from Jim Clark at the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, Bruno’s Bakery received support from Warwickshire County Council’s Survive, Sustain and Grow programme to adapt its offer by launching a new e-commerce platform which allowed the business to start trading online.

A few months later, following the success of the e-commerce platform funded by a £7,000 recovery grant from the county council, the small business wanted to expand.

Brian and Joanne’s children Joe Knight, who looks after sales and marketing, his brother and head baker Barney Knight and their sister Harriet, who leads on administration and HR, wanted to buy the empty health centre just two doors away, and a £18,590 Small Capital Grant from the county council enabled the business to move in.

Jim also advised the family to successfully apply for £30,000 from Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant towards buying six state-of-the-art ovens.

Joe said the family had invested nearly £500,000 to turn their expansion dreams into reality which has led to increasing their staff from 14 to 34.

He said: “When a building became empty only a few doors away in 2020 during Covid, we decided to go ahead with our expansion plans because we didn’t want to move away from Studley’s High Street because this is where we started and where we are known.

“The unit is eight times the size of our old premises and it has been a big renovation project to turn it into a state-of-the-art bakery and to keep the budget to an affordable level.

“We needed some extra support and that’s where Jim stepped in. The help we have received from Jim has been incredible and it wouldn’t have been possible without his mentoring and expert advice.

“The financial support from Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwickshire County Council has been invaluable and we couldn’t have opened this place to the level we have – and have added so many new employees – without it.

“We have never had a restaurant before which we have opened six days a week and business has been exceptional so far, particularly in this tough economic climate.”

Jim Clark, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the family had taken a very bold decision to go ahead with their plans.

“The new bakery and restaurant are awesome and it is testament to their vision and drive,” he said. “They have added an online shop to cater for corporate lunches, afternoon teas and party menus which is going really well.

“The second generation of this family business are continuing to push the business forward to meet their growing needs and there is capacity to grow into commercial baking should they wish to in the future. They have plenty of ideas for new ventures and Bruno’s Bakery is in very good hands.”

Harriet Spiller (Bruno’s Bakery), Jim Clark (CWLEP Growth Hub), Joe Knight (Bruno’s Bakery), Cllr Jo Barker (Stratford-on-Avon District Council), David Platts (Stratford-on-Avon District Council) and Barney Knight (Bruno’s Bakery)


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