Leggs Bakery in Halstead
Essex bakery business is rising to success
Danny Stevens first bought Leggs Bakery in Halstead three years ago and since then the business has risen from a one-man-band to a thriving wholesale business with a 15-strong team.
It had long been Danny’s ambition to run his own successful business, and when he was made redundant from his work in retail project management, he decided to take the plunge. Although he didn’t know at this point that his venture would result in him becoming one of Essex’s star bakers!
Danny explained: “I knew I wanted to build a business around a staple product, rather than a ‘fad’ and to find something which would play on my retail skills. So when, as a local lad, I spotted a bakery business up for sale I decided to snap it up.”
At this point the bakery was situated in Braintree and owned by master baker Brian Legg, who had over 50 years of experience in the trade and was part of a local family renowned for its baking skills.
To ease the transition, Brian stayed on in the bakery for nine months and Danny became his apprentice. He diligently learnt his new trade, proving and perfecting recipes time and time again, until he was confident of achieving even bakes and perfectly risen results in even the most technical of challenges.
Taking tradition to new heights
In Brian’s honour, Danny retained the trusted Essex name of Leggs Bakery and started by running the business by himself, with just some help from his brother and moral support from his dog. He purposefully made the decision to focus his time and effort on classic bakery staples, concentrating on bread based products at first and then branching out into more pastries.
Today the business supplies fresh breads and pastries to everything from local catering companies to burger vans, as well as more than 10 of our food stores as part the Sourced Locally range.
Being a Sourced Locally supplier has really helped Danny to expand the business over the last few years, to the point where he now has his own team of master bakers and spends most of his time running the business.
“We started by supplying the West Bergholt store in 2012,” explained Danny. “Now we supply 11 different stores and the East of England Co-op is one of our biggest customers. The best thing was that they allowed us to grow at our own pace; increasing the number of stores we delivered to as and when we could.”
The security of the regular orders helped Danny to expand the business and in 2012 the bakery moved from the small premises in Braintree to the current 3,000sq ft premises in Halstead.
And everyone’s festive family favourites have also opened up another route to success. In Christmas 2013 Leggs Bakery’s mince pies proved so popular that we decided even more people needed to be able to enjoy them!
The Sourced Locally team supported Danny to be able to supply all 135 of our stores across the region with the locally made mince pies throughout Christmas 2014. This certainly caused a flurry of activity at the bakery, with every mince pie being handmade from scratch and the first order alone seeing 5,000 boxes being delivered.
As a result Danny moved some office space upstairs to extend his pastry production area and took on two new members of staff, to fulfil both the festive orders and future pastry orders to come.