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Bakery expansion and YoF&D legacy the icing on the cake

NI Year of Food and Drink

Posted by Tourism NI

Published January 4, 2017

A Derry bakery which began five years ago in a tiny back room with one member of staff has moved to a 2,500 sq. ft. new business unit as part of a joint patisserie and café enterprise now employing almost 50 staff in the city. Primrose Bakery employs six staff in its bakery in the Skeoge Industrial Estate, with more than 40 additional employees working at two Primrose café outlets. Ciaran and Melanie Breslin, owners of the business, have also revealed plans to start offering cookery and bakery classes as part of the legacy of the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016, the year-long Tourism NI campaign supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council through a programme of events and business support initiatives.

Bakery expansion and YoF&D legacy the icing on the cake

Melanie and Ciaran Breslin of Primrose

The husband and wife team are also currently in talks aimed at bringing a high profile celebrity patisserie chef to Derry for a master class early this year as part of the Year of Food and Drink legacy.

Ciaran Breslin said Primrose was delighted to be able to combine its bakery and office space under one roof across two floors in the new larger unit at Skeoge Industrial Estate. The comparison with the confined space they started out using in August 2011, could not be better for Melanie who takes a hands-on role in the bakery which has seen a big increase in demand from private orders for cakes and desserts.

Ciaran explained: “Melanie worked on her own in one tiny room at the back of Primrose in Carlisle Road with one mixer and one fridge for a solid year, seven days a week. We then transferred to an outside shed which had been used for storage and, in September 2015 we moved the bakery to a 450 sq. ft. unit at Skeoge Industrial Estate.”

Melanie recalled: “I moved in thinking, ‘What am I going to do with all the space?’ but we outgrew it within a year and the lack of bakery space was holding back our potential to expand the business whereas we now have more options.”

Primrose operates its bakery seven days a week to ensure the freshness of its bread and pastry products which contain no additives or preservatives and are delivered each morning to both cafes which open on Sundays at 10am. The bakery expansion means they will also be able to supply other businesses and retail outlets.

Melanie leaves the family home in Faughanvale at 3.20am most mornings to begin baking with her team from 4am until around noon. Head Baker Bernie Peoples is also a part-time patisserie lecturer at North West Regional College in Derry.

Ciaran and Melanie Breslin attribute the success of Primrose to their “great team”, adding: “You need people to be on the same wavelength as yourself and the staff are all as passionate as we are about providing great customer service and great food.”

Primrose are particularly proud of their new French patisserie range, developed during a series of business trips to Paris. Celebrity Irish chef Neven Maguire, who sampled some of Primrose’s cakes and choux pastries when they were showcased at the recent opening of the new Foodovation Centre at North West Regional College, later tweeted that they were the best éclairs he had ever tasted – even in France!

While all the patisserie, fillings, jams and sauces are made from scratch at the new bakery using locally sourced ingredients and recipes handed down by Melanie’s mother and grandmother, all the meat on the Primrose menus – including their top selling pork and leek sausages - is supplied by the two family butchers in Derry run by Kevin Breslin and his son, Ciaran, employing ten staff.

Primrose also recently joined forces with a bee collective in Creggan to supply them with honey as part of the legacy of supporting local producers and suppliers.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Hilary McClintock, welcomed the new business expansion and creation of almost 50 jobs at Primrose bakery and its two popular bistro-style cafés in the city noted for its family bakeries.

“It is really heartening that a small family business which was only established five and a half years ago has gone from strength to strength and its bakery has now moved to premises almost five times bigger than it previously occupied within the North West Business Park,” she said.

Further information on Derry City and Strabane District Council’s activity during 2016’s Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016, is available at www.derrystrabane/com

Posted by Tourism NI

Produced by Tourism NI