Russell Goodwin, a graduate from the School of Artisan Food has set-up an innovative business model for his delicious artisan products, selling to Manchester commuters. His recent Crowdfunder Campaign helped raise funds to kick start his business – here’s his latest update…
Significant progress has been made at Companio Bakery in the last 7 weeks. Building works including construction of a toilet, decorating and floor painting are all complete. Electricity, plumbing and lighting have all been installed. A large bread oven with four stone decks has been installed and a dough table has generously been donated by the Handmade Bakery.
I did my very first bake from my new bakery premises last week which was tremendously exciting and it feels great at last to be filling the neighbourhood streets with the delightful aroma of freshly baked artisan bread. To start with I am just baking on Tuesdays and Thursdays and selling sourdough breads and savoury danish from my bakery between 12pm and 3pm. I then go on to trade from 4pm to 6pm at Manchester Victoria Train Station on Tuesdays and Salford Central Train Station on Thursdays. Eventually I aim to bake Tuesdays to Fridays inclusive and also run artisan bread-making courses periodically at weekends.
Last Tuesday I traded at the newly re-developed Manchester Victoria Train Station for the first time. The station has undergone a wonderful transformation and Companio Bakery’s market stall is located on the main concourse next to the new Metrolink tram station entrance. Customers were excited and surprised to be able to buy artisan bread on their way home, and people were very complimentary and enthusiastic so it is great to get off to an encouraging start. I continue to trade at Salford Central Train Station on Thursdays where I have developed many loyal customers.
The bakery fit-out and purchase of the deck oven has been made possible through people’s generosity in making Bread Loans. These loans, with interest offered in bread or bread-making courses, have proved hugely popular and this vital community-support has been incredibly heartening and instrumental in getting the bakery up and running. So far £22,000 has been loaned which is amazing so I now only require £8,000 to reach my overall target of £30,000. The main items I still need are a spiral mixer, a large commercial fridge and a pastry dough sheeter for making patisserie. In the meantime, I am continuing to mix my doughs at a temporary kitchen unit in South Manchester but I now drive across the city to my unit in Ancoats where I shape, prove and bake my breads. I hope through meeting new customers in Ancoats and Victoria in the coming weeks that it will not be too long before I get further investments to help reach my target.