Ex-'Sourced Locally' store set for new lease of life as bakery business moves in
PUBLISHED: 08:39 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:14 11 January 2019
The East of England Co-op's former Darsham Hamper store has been snapped up by an ex-brewery boss.
Steve Magnall was managing director of St Peter’s Brewery near Bungay until last year, when he quit to join wife Rebecca at her Southwold and Aldeburgh-based Two Magpies bakery business as an equal partner.
They want to expand the business by creating a bakery, bakery school and café at the site, along the A12 near Yoxford, after buying it for £475k including VAT. A plan to extend and remodel is expected to cost nearly £200k, and they hope to open it in spring, creating a number of jobs, subject to planning consent.
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Darsham Hamper was a flagship for East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally produce, opening for business in 2014. But the regional retail chain decided to sell it last year after the store struggled to make what it described as “a sustained, positive contribution” to the business. It was shut in September 2018.
But the Magnalls see it as an ideal location for a new bakery, enabling the business to expand and allow more room at its original Southwold site for its bakery café. They were “really excited” after the deal went through on December 21, said Mr Magnall.
The couple, who currently employ around 45 staff, have already spent around £80k refurbishing and refitting their new branch at Aldeburgh, which has proved a big hit since opening in the latter part of 2018. The business was formerly a bakery, but the Magnalls are close to completing a complete refit, rebrand and a complete move to Two Magpies bakery products. It has 52 seats indoors, with a further 12 outside.
They wanted to focus on quality, customer service, integrity and brand, sourcing coffee from AllPress in London and many ingredients locally, said Mr Magnall. “I saw the potential of the business,” he said. “Both Southwold and Aldeburgh are just rammed to the rafters. The guys can’t keep up. It’s really hard work for them - they run out of space.
“For me, the only reason this works is by scaling it up.”
A four-deck pizza oven operation will remain at Southwold, but a new larger oven will be installed at Darsham. The investment in the business was “significant”, he said, “From my point of view and Rebecca’s the brand is really respected,” he said.
All the interior design, in Norwegian pine, has been designed by the couple.