Sunday, 29 November 2015

Pushing Change Pushing Doors - Pettigrew Bakeries

"Work on the business not in the business"

Pettigrew Bakeries is the name of our new bakery which is going to open in 595 Cowbridge Road East, Victoria Park, Cardiff this coming spring 2016.

The brief is straightforward, we are expert bakers, we love all things baked, we make as much as we can ourselves from awesome local producers in our (very) little home in Pettigrew Tea Rooms, Bute Park. We use a serious amount of bread and have always wanted to bake our own but never had the space.

We are equally passionate about World class produce made right here in South Wales, served for the community in Cardiff and further afield. West Cardiff has a wonderfully vibrant community who support real local producers. We cannot wait to play our part in that local place, serving our style of traditional British baking on our doorstep, Ely, Canton, Llandaff, Fairwater, Victoria Park & beyond!

The builders move in tomorrow to start work in the regeneration, restoration and general transformation of this beautiful traditional Victorian shop.

I am going to document exactly what we are planning and how it will work out over the coming weeks, but first off here is some background about how we got where we are today. Sunday 29th November 2015.


A year ago my major concern was what would happen to the operation of Pettigrew Tea Rooms if I wasn't there, knowing that some major personal changes were looming meaning I wouldn't be able to continue managing my business and serving customers.

If you open your own business, success can hinge on how you embrace change. I cannot stress this enough. The tea rooms have demanded change that I could never have envisioned or predicted. To do the business justice we chose to embrace and adapt, often making painful changes along the way. This has been tough on everyone at the Tea Rooms, we keep our staff and they experience the difficulty and uncertainty change brings. There is one big benefit of continual change for improvement; when change comes, as one team, we are ready to embrace it with both hands.

A year ago my Supervisors became Managers taking the position as head of our family leading Pettigrew Tea Rooms. Our 4th year of operation has been the busiest by far, welcoming more people than ever, adding more complexities to our menu, cooked breakfasts, better ingredients, new local suppliers, more team members, challenges and triumphs.

Our Breakfasts have been a huge challenge to make a reality but a huge success, thanks to everyone who helped. Have a read about them here
Image Credit Gourmet Gorro @GourmetGorro
Image Credit Gourmet Gorro @GourmetGorro
Nothing is perfect and there are many challenges ahead of us, but we have kept what we have always had, a passionate collective of skilled people who care about where they work and responding to make it better.

Gareth Davies Sugarcraft Artist November 2015

Standing still is not an option!

From the moment I knew that the Tea Rooms were a success there was a palpable expectation of "what's next?". So alongside the changes in my life and the establishment of the Tea Rooms I have been on a search.

How do you decide what to do next? There have been no less than 5 serious expansion opportunities in the past 4 years that have peaked my interest. Tea Rooms, Cake Business', Wholesale. I have a rule that if a door appears you need to give it a little push just to see where it leads you. From this plethora of possible expansion possibilities and having sat here writing (and deleting) for hours this morning, our final decision really comes down to this...

 I LOVE BAKERIES. The tea rooms exist, because I LOVE TEA ROOMS.

I adore bread, I love the magic of making it, the science, the alchemy, the variety, the technique, the spectrum of complexity to simplicity.

There is burgeoning talent in Pettigrew Tea Rooms and now I have the opportunity to give that talent a showcase.

Wholesale bread supply in Cardiff is under competitive. There is an opportunity for quality bakeries in South Wales who can supply quality and consistency not just to a local community but to the explosion of wonderful independent business' craving quality and consistent locally baked craft products. (Note I am NOT saying there are none, but there are certainly NOT enough!)

It is an honour and an adventure to become a supplier, I hope for Pettigrew Bakeries to join the ranks of incredible Welsh suppliers bringing craft, expertise and talent to our local market here in South Wales.

We have an opportunity ahead, it is a risk, a change beyond any we have embraced before. This is one door that pushed all the way open and this time we have leapt across the threshold, screaming I WANT TO BAKE FREE!

In the coming days the builders will move in to 595 Cowbridge Road East, Victoria Park and I will keep you updated on the progress of the works as we go. Breaking news is always delivered first on Twitter @PettigrewBakes

Peace x


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