Based at Plumgarths near Kendal, Ginger Bakers is an artisan bakery founded by Lisa Smith in 2006.
Having spent her spare time baking cakes in her kitchen and selling them at local farmers markets, she decided to take the leap and make baking her career, alongside a move to the Lake District. She now produces a sumptuous range of cakes including an extensive gluten-free range.
A flood in 2015 left Ginger Bakers waist-deep in water but, with the support of the local community, Lisa was able to build a new bakery and the business has been growing ever since.
The bakery was performing extremely well and enjoying growth in demand but found that its production equipment was making it difficult to reliably keep up with the quantity of orders. This operational continuity was crucial in servicing a contract with regional supermarket Booths, which required a risk analysis against demand.
Lisa and her team came to the Cumbria Business Growth Hub looking for a way to increase the speed of production without sacrificing the high standard and consistency of their products.
She was introduced to Cumbria’s dedicated manufacturing adviser, Steve Wilkinson, who worked with her to seek ways to improve and accelerate the production process. They identified that a new combi-oven would enable this, but Lisa needed to secure the funding to make it a reality.
Steve directed Lisa to the Cumbria Manufacturing Service, which provides manufacturing firms in the region with grant funding for business growth projects. He worked with Lisa to submit her application and she was awarded a capital grant worth £5,605, a contribution of 50 per cent of the cost of the new combi-oven.
Thanks to the increase in productivity that the oven enabled, Lisa could provide increased confidence of her plans with Booths and other key customers and safeguarded three jobs at the bakery in the process.
With less time being consumed by the production process, the bakery has also had time to develop yet more new mouth-watering products and win new business contracts.
Lisa, who is managing director of Ginger Bakers, said: “Securing the contract with Booths was a momentous occasion for our bakery history, but it did raise concerns over whether it could be too big of an undertaking and could we do it reliably? Thanks to the Cumbria Manufacturing Service, not only were we able to deliver on this contract, we’ve also been able to expand our market to hundreds of new customers.”
She added: “The support has been invaluable. We now have more time to innovate and create new ideas for our bakery, which wasn’t possible before we upgraded our facilities. Now we can focus on doing what we love – selling delicious cakes to the people of Cumbria!”
Steve said: “Lisa’s bakery is treasured by the Cumbrian community and beyond, and the support they showed following the flood demonstrated just how well-loved it is.
“Securing the funding for the new oven has been a real boon to Lisa and the team and has enabled them to truly unlock their potential. They’re now be in an ideal position to attract new customers and capitalise on their continuing success with Booths. We look forward to seeing – and sampling – their new creations.”
Cumbria Manufacturing Service and Cumbria Business Growth Hub are business support initiatives part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The funding that supports the Growth Hub comes from a range of sources including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the European Regional Development Fund, Sellafield Ltd., Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council, Penrith Industrial BID and Cumbria LEP. The Growth Hub is receiving up to £2,528,767 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information click here. Cumbria Manufacturing Service is receiving is £301,088 of ERDF funding.