The 13,006m2 factory will be four times the size of the baker’s former Coed Aben Road site that burned down in August last year, destroying office space, the baking academy and new product development kitchen.
Founder and chairman Alan Jones and his wife Wendy marked the start of construction this week, with manufacturing due to be up and running in just over 12 months.
Despite the loss of the Coed Aben Road site, Village Bakery has reported turnover higher than pre-fire levels, thanks to increased production at its remaining three sites to compensate. It expects to return to 100% of its lost production in a few weeks’ time, less than a year after the blaze.
Managing director Robin Jones commented: “I said on the day of the fire that we would not dwell on it or be daunted but to be in this position less than 200 days later is remarkable.
“Our positive approach has already paid dividends because our wholesale customers have asked us to supply them with more of our products and the outpouring of affection from the people who buy them has been truly humbling.
“All in all, it’s stiffened our resolve to continue on our upwards trajectory and we will be unveiling some exciting new products in the not-too-distant future as well as expanding our sales into mainland Europe and hopefully America.”
Village Bakery also announced that an extension would be built at their gluten-free bakery to implement a completely segregated production area to make crumpets.
Alan Jones paid tribute to the loyalty of his staff for their role in the comeback of the businesses.
He added: “The fire was a dreadful, devastating experience for all of us but at no point did we feel sorry for ourselves and we vowed to bounce back stronger than ever.
“The fact that we are a tightknit, family operation meant we were able to make quick decisions and turn a disaster into an opportunity. The new bakery will be bigger, better and more modern and will lay the foundation for future growth and success.”
Projects director Christien Jones said the new bakery would be “the most modern in Europe” with new equipment being brought in from Holland, Italy, France and Germany to kit it out.
“As well as having the best equipment, we already have the best team, allied to our skills as craft bakers – that in a nutshell is our recipe for success,” he continued.
“Today has been a significant milestone with mum and dad [Alan and Wendy Jones] cutting the first sod at the site of the new bakery in Ash Road. Mum also comes from a family of bakers so it’s part of our DNA.”