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The Ginger Breadman, an established Argyll and Bute bakery, is raising the bar in Helensburgh, with the launch of its third premises following funding support from the Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme.
The bakery, which is run by local Martin Rippon, was launched in June 2013 in Dunbartonshire in a converted church and sold scones and traybakes using only a domestic cooker.
Since relocating to Helensburgh in October 2015, the business has continued to expand rapidly and now specialises in artisan sourdough breads, cakes, deli sandwiches and pastries.
Its significant growth has resulted in the requirement for additional premises to service both the bakehouse, located in Helensburgh, and the catering business which supplies baked goods for hotels, restaurants and retail outlets across the central belt.
Martin, owner of The Ginger Breadman, said: ‘I launched the business after years working in hospitality, both front and back of house and always loved it.
‘I approached Business Gateway as, while I had the passion, I had never baked goods in a commercial capacity.
‘However, with its support, I decided to take the plunge and open a small bakehouse and it’s just snowballed since then. We’ve gone from baking six loaves a day to more than 1,000 a week.
‘Business Gateway has been an excellent partner since I started my business, helping me with the early stages of my business plan and providing a range of workshops that we were able to take advantage of.
‘This relationship has only grown as The Ginger Breadman relocated from Dunbartonshire to Helensburgh. The support let me employ additional staff, including a trained and qualified patissier chef through grant funding, and purchase equipment that has furnished our second outlet.’
The business has since grown from one full-time member of staff to nine employees, including two apprentices and supplies local businesses in Loch Lomond and Helensburgh.
Martin, who gained his SVQ Level II Craft Bakery Skills while on the job, is an active member of Scottish Bakers and works with them to deliver his apprenticeship training.
Martin said: ‘The wider industry can struggle to attract people due to difficult conditions and the unsociable working hours required. However, it’s an incredibly rewarding job and we have been fortunate to have a great bunch of passionate bakers working for us.
‘Looking after them is really important to us, because we appreciate it’s a hard job and we couldn’t do it without our great team behind us.’
Jen Smith, Business Gateway adviser, added: ‘It’s been a brilliant journey to support Martin as his business has gone from strength to strength, and completely embedded itself into the Helensburgh community.
‘Clients such as Martin showcase the potential evolution of a business’s relationship with Business Gateway. To be able to support The Ginger Breadman from the initial days to the launch of a third outlet demonstrates the range of services offered and how Business Gateway can provide support that applies throughout the lifecycle of a business.’
To find out more about Business Gateway and its services, please visit its website at https://www.bgateway.com/.
The Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme is funded by Argyll and Bute Council and the European Regional Development Fund 2014-20 Structural Funds Programme, with a total programme value of £855,239.