Two deals save shops and bakery

The Woodhead store on North Marine Road
The Woodhead store on North Marine Road

TWO buyers have stepped forward to take over troubled Scarborough bakery firm Woodhead – saving 280 jobs.

The Scarborough bakery and 11 shops have been sold to Midlands-based Bakery Products Limited, while the businesses of another 18 of its retail shops have been bought by Scarborough bakers, Cooplands, in each case as going concerns.

Coopland already has outlets in Falsgrave Road, Newlands Park Drive, Newborough, Westborough, Ramshill Road and High Street, Eastfield, restaurants in Newborough and on the second floor of its Westborough shop, and a snack shop in Caxton Way.

Christopher White of The P&A Partnership, one of the joint administrators, said: “We were pleased with the level of interest generated in the company’s businesses and are proud to have achieved successful sales of the factory and 29 shops as going concerns.

“Our thanks go to all the employees at Woodheads. It’s a credit to them that they carried on working with the administrators throughout these challenging last few weeks.”

There are eight Woodhead shops in Scarborough, and about 30 shops in areas such as York, Hull, Driffield, Whitby Beverley and Malton. Only one shop, in Redcar, has had to close.

Thirty jobs were axed immediately at the firm’s factory in Beaconsfield Street, with the remaining positions hanging in the balance when an announcement was made last month regarding the crisis at Woodhead.

Two of the Scarborough bosses of Woodhead will be kept on in new senior roles with Bakery Products.

Colin Woodhead, who is the son of the family firm’s founder, will remain to help the new firm in a consultancy role.

Woodhead’s long-standing managing director Phil Davis has been appointed in the same role by Grantham-based Bakery Products Limited – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Haldane Retail Group.

A spokesman for Bakery Products Limited, which is part of Haldane Retail Group, said: “As with the Haldane Retail Group, Woodhead Bakery was a family-run business and shares many of the same ethics and values such as a focus on delivering unrivalled customer service and satisfaction.

“We’re delighted to retain both Phil and Colin. Their combined knowledge, valuable skills and experience of the industry are key to the future success of the bakery.”

He added that the bakery and shop portfolio represented an “excellent fit” with the Haldane group’s portfolio and there were plans for the bakery to supply all 20 of its UGO stores.

He said: “We’ve identified a number of opportunities to grow the bakery.

“We will develop the Woodhead Pie People brand in its own right and open retail units in selected locations under that name. We are also planning to extend the bakery’s retail portfolio, including operations using the Woodhead name at the shop units.”

Mr Davis said: “It is great news that the factory has been saved from closure. I look forward to working with the new owners to rebuild confidence in the Woodhead name and products, and I am sure our existing customers will continue to support us in the 11 acquired stores.”

The administrators were called in to take over the family run firm at the end of last month and during that time workers faced an uncertain future.

Woodhead the Bakers was founded by Harold Woodhead and his brother George in 1937 at premises in Newlands Park Drive, with the company’s first offering being delivered on the back of a tricycle.

The firm grew over the decades to include a headquarters and factory in Beaconsfield Street.

The company also supplies national supermarket chain Morrisons and Scarborough run Proudfoot stores.