THE boss of the region’s largest independent bakery chain has this week revealed a radical restructuring of the firm.
And Max Robbie, managing director of J. L. Bakery Ltd – formerly Jackie Lunn Ltd – believes the changes, underpinned by new investment and the rebranding of some of its eight outlets, will secure the long-term future of a business which was founded in 1977.
Since decommissioning its Wilderhaugh bakery in Galashiels 20 months ago, switching production to Kelso and closing its retail branches in Hawick and Peebles, the company has reduced its full and part-time workforce from 60 to 40.
Last month, the shops in Galashiels and Innerleithen were rebranded as Pound Bakehouses and the Kelso outlet is set to follow next month.
“It is part of our business plan to sell our premium products at budget prices in our own stores and to refocus on our popular wholesale supply of Jackie Lunn-branded products to selected retailers throughout the UK,” explained Mr Robbie.
“If the rebranding is successful – and turnover in Galashiels and Innerleithen has already gone up 50 per cent – we will consider rolling it out at our other branches in Earlston, Coldstream, Jedburgh, Selkirk and Melrose.
“It’s about keeping ahead of the game and attracting new business in a very competitive and recession-hit market, but we are confident our dynamic approach will pay dividends both for our staff and customers to whom we remain absolutely committed.”
Mr Robbie was keen to quash negative speculation about his business after a public notice appeared in this newspaper last month, revealing that the East Development Co. Ltd had petitioned the court to wind up MEP (Bakery Ltd) which was described as “formerly Jackie Lunn Ltd”.
“East Development Company, from which Jackie Lunn Ltd leased the Hawick shop, is the only contingent creditor not taken over by J. L.(Bakery) Ltd, being the only landlord who chose not to renegotiate his lease,” said Mr Robbie. “This action has no impact whatsoever on the new company.”