A Chorley bakery business has unveiled a series of new expansion plans designed to meet existing demand and attract new customers.
Halls Bakery Ltd, a client of Marsden Rawsthorns and who also provided the catering for our first anniversary celebrations , already bakes and sells thousands of pies and savoury products every week through its three sites in Chorley, as well as sandwiches, cakes and salads.
The firm also provides a popular catering facility to local businesses which has grown significantly over the last 12 months.
Halls Bakery already employs 26 people but this figure is set to grow if its £100,000 plan to expand to five sites comes to fruition.
Boss Joseph Hall said: "We have numerous plans for the future, not least of which is the expansion of catering services to cover central Lancashire, including Preston and Leyland, as we currently really only cover Chorley.
"We are looking at some initiatives to drive up the levels of business in our current stores, including 0800 order lines and an 'Express Collection' point in each store.
"We are looking at two new sites, one in Chorley and one in Preston.
"We are also looking at making pies for local butchers who may want to use their own recipes but don't have the production capacity to manufacture them.
"We can do that for them. All they need to do is supply the meat and they have their own pies.
"The reasoning behind these plans is that as a company we are looking to secure our future.
"We think this will be best served by developing new sites and trading styles, giving us a bigger geographical 'footprint' from which to market and supply our catering services and supply our own baked products."
He said he hoped the express collection points would appeal to customers who were short of time.
The company's plans fly in the face of the credit crunch but he said there was no real secret to their success.
He added: "The most obvious thing is a commitment to quality ingredients, coupled with a value for money pricing structure and a reputation which was built by my grandfather, my father, aunties and uncles and now ourselves.
"I think that kind of thing is almost priceless, it's impossible to buy. The hard part is keeping it going."
It's hoped the expansion plans will result in the creation of four full time positions in Chorley and a similar number in Preston.
Mr Hall said: "Twelve months from now I would like to see the company operating its five retail sites and our catering section delivering across central Lancashire. "I anticipate it will be a year of consolidation, with us planning the way forward from 2010.
"The credit crunch has certainly had an impact. We have noticed corporate customers spending less per head and we have noticed average spend per customer falling slightly across our retail operations.
"However, we have also benefitted from the interest being shown in our value catering offers, particularly the old favourites like hot pot suppers and pie and peas suppers. "These are once again proving to be very popular as they offer tremendous value for money"
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