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Farsley’s Candied Peel Cake Co on coping during Covid – and being a ‘business hero’

A Farsley bakery is through to the next stage of the ‘Business Hero’ National SME Business Awards. Community reporter Josie Armitage spoke to owner Steven Newbatt about how The Candied Peel Cake Co has coped during lockdown – and about life as an independent trader.

How did you start your business?

We started the business in 2017 following my redundancy from a local training company. 

We attended local farmers’ markets with our limited range of miniloaves and scones. We soon realised we had found a niche in the market for something that tasted good yet still looked handmade. 

We started to attend farmers’ markets and small events across Yorkshire.  During 2018 and 2019 our range continued to grow, and we started to be invited to many of the larger festivals including The Great Yorkshire Show, The Yorkshire Food & Drink Festival and Flavours Foods Festival in addition to gaining a number of large corporate clients. 

During the past two years we have been commissioned to create several cakes for Welcome to Yorkshire including several for The Emerald Stadium, Headingley, which included the England versus Pakistan test match.

During 2019 we won our first Great Taste award, being awarded a prestigious two gold stars for our rich fruit cake. We also went on to win #SBS Sunday in association with Dragons Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.

In 2019 we opened our first bricks and mortar premises in Farsley.

How has Covid-19 and lockdown affected your business?

We have had to change our systems to include contactless payment and delivery, as businesses like ours had to close their premises from the end of March.

During this difficult time we have managed to deliver celebration cakes, our legendary scones and mini loaves, to many individuals and families who have been unable to get out or otherwise celebrate a birthday. We have maintained our ethos of not charging for delivery.

What are the main areas of your business?

Our main areas of the business are our celebration cakes, scones, mini loaves and traybakes. We also have one of the largest selections of cake decorating and baking accessories in Yorkshire and this continues to grow with our close relationships with Wilton, Renshaw, Saracino & PME.

What are the best things about running your own business? 

It’s great to wake up each morning not knowing what the day may bring.

We’ve had many strange requests to do with celebration cakes over the years, including a breast and negligee cake for a drag queen’s birthday and a cricket bat and ball for the test match. 

We continue to grow and continue to employ local staff.

What are the challenges of running your own business?

Running a cake business can often be difficult, due to the time we take to ensure our cakes are perfect and to each customer’s request. 

Costs can often be higher than those of a supermarket. Although we must say, ours taste better and are 100% individual.  No two cakes are ever made the same.

Hours can be long and days off are very rare, but nothing can beat the recognition and glow inside you feel when a customer compliments your products.

Who are your main customers?

Our main customers live in and around Leeds, often coming to us after receiving a recommendation or being let down by amateur cake makers. We have many customers who come to visit us at our store for their cake decorating and baking accessories.  It’s a treasure trove.

What’s next for you and business?

As the business continues to grow, we are looking at taking on additional staff from our locality including an apprentice.

We are continuously working with our partners in the cake and tourism industry to ensure the Yorkshire provenance of our products is recognised.

We have agreed to take on several new local producers once we reopen who will be able to sell their goods through our store alongside existing artisan producers including the Yorkshire Chocolatier, Mog & Monroe, Valleyview snacks, Wild Yorkshire Honey and beantastic.

It’s great to see so many new customers and everyone shopping locally.

It would be fantastic to see these customers continue shopping locally once this pandemic is over.  It means so much to all the small local businesses, and each pound spent ensures we can continue to trade.

To find out more about the Candied Peel Cake Co, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

To vote for Steven Newbatt and The Candied Peel Cake Co as Your Business Hero follow this link before Thursday 16th June 2020 at 5pm.

Pictured, top, is Great British Bake Off contestant Karen Wright, who ran a three-hour course at the independent bakery in Farsley last June.

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