Business support

Ambitious Orkney bakery expands its markets

A family owned bakery in Orkney is set to increase production, conquer new markets and create new jobs with an expansion project.

WFM Brown Ltd which trades as The Westray Bakehouse and known locally as Broons o’ Westray, is situated on the island of Westray, off mainland Orkney.

The business is now investing in the future to fulfil demand for its increasingly sought after products and to ensure that the business has sufficient capacity to flourish.

With  grant support of £73,150 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the move will allow the bakery to expand its customer base to mainland UK as well as boost productivity.

The bakery was taken over by William Frederick Mackinson Brown in 1882 on the island. Over 125 years on, Louise and Duncan Drever (4th generation bakers) run the wholesale bakery, supplying customers in Orkney, Shetland and Thurso.

The bakery produces a wide range of bread and biscuits including speciality ranges, using the unique variety of barley - bere - which has been grown in Orkney for thousands of years and attracts interest from buyers looking for a regionally distinctive product.

The Westray Bakehouse currently employs eight people on the island which has a resident population of 600. Two new jobs will be created at the new facility once it has been completed.

The business is keen to ensure opportunities are available for young ambitious people who want to stay in Westray or move to the island.

The £731,550 project is also supported by the Scottish Government’s Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation Scheme.

Work on the new building will start in spring 2018 and be situated quarter of a mile from the existing facility.

Maureen Shearer, account manager at HIE’s Orkney area team, said: “We are delighted to assist The Westray Bakehouse in its expansion project. This new building will provide many opportunities for the business as well as the wider community. The expansion will enable the bakery to add new produce to its range and expand into UK markets beyond Orkney and Shetland.

“The current premises has over the last few years become too small. This project will see more space created, allowing the business to plan further growth and product development with the maximum of efficiency.

Louise Drever from The Westray Bakehouse, said: “We are delighted to be receiving financial support from HIE. Their invaluable assistance will help to grow our business and we look forward to the next few years as we continue to grow. A key component in this growth will be innovation in new products which is critical in markets that crave new ideas.”

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