The wonderful smell of freshly baked bread will be wafting across Acomb as a bakery, café and community centre opens this weekend.
We first revealed that Bluebird Bakery was planning its biggest venture yet back in March. And this Saturday (11 September), a shop, café, community centre and production hub will open in the converted Bathstore showroom on Acomb Road.
This will be the fourth Bluebird location, after shops on Little Shambles, York, Malton’s Talbot Yard and Kirkgate Market in Leeds.
The venue will open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.
It is a bold and exciting move for Bluebird Bakery owners Al and Nicky Kippax, who started the business from their kitchen table ten years ago, selling bread at Shambles Market to begin with, before moving to their first shop in Malton.
They love the Acomb location. “The area’s quite vibrant,” Al said.
“It’s a strong community around here,” Nicky added. “They really work together and help each other out and support each other. It seemed like the obvious place.”
The new Bluebird Bakery will create up to ten jobs, including drivers, bakers and front of house.
Acomb Road is the first Bluebird venue to have a cafe alongside the shop – filled with tasty treats freshly made just yards from your table.
Sandwiches and toasties will be on sale (around £4), as well as tea and coffee (£2.50). The baked goodies include brownies, salted caramels and delicious cinnamon rolls (trust me, they taste just as good as they look).
Bluebird Bakery plan to add more delectable goodies soon, such as croissants and Danish pastries.
The cafe will be counter service. “Cafes can be quite challenging,” Al said, “but we’re keeping it relatively simple.”
“We’re basically having an area where people can sit and enjoy what we make,” Nicky added.
It’s a great place to chill and recharge. The bright open space is filled with sunlight thanks to the big windows. Rustic tables create a homely feel, while hanging plants add pops of greenery.
There’s also a play space for children. Any budding bakers can have a go in the toy kitchen!
The interior has been designed by artist and designer Jo Walton of Rogues Atelier, with tables crafted by Alastair Hamilton.
Local artists have also added flair to the interior with beautiful murals from Yorkshire-based artists Sam Porter and Leah Pendleton.
There is a bakery onsite, plus a community room. Al and Nicky have invested a lot of money in the site – including from their own savings – and it shows.
The state-of-the-art bread oven can bake an impressive 256 loaves at once. And there are two massive mixers.
Goods baked here will be supplied wholesale to cafes, delis and restaurants around Yorkshire, as well as sold in the Acomb café and shop.
Fan-favourites such as the seven-seeder sourdough loaf and the Bengali five-spiced rolls will be available, as well as some new products. Loaves cost £2.50-£4.
There’s also a community room at the back of the building which will be used for baking classes and working with kids and vulnerable groups – as well as a rolling apprenticeship scheme.
“It’s hard to find bakers,” Nicky said, “and teaching baking makes sense. It’s creating skills which are in short supply. So actually having people learn about traditional bread baking methods is fantastic.”
The classes will be offered to Acomb locals first as a thank you for the warm reception they’ve received. “Everybody has been so welcoming,” Nicky said.
As with so many small businesses, coping with the pandemic over the last 18 months has proved to be a real challenge.
Al said it was a “massive shock” – wholesale had to stop completely. They introduced home deliveries during Covid, after getting an online shop live fast. “We had to change everything really quickly,” said Nicky.
Deliveries really took off during the lockdowns. It meant they only furloughed one member of staff for just one week.
Now Al and Nicky are ready to expand again. And there’s already been a buzz around the bakery with lots of people ringing up wanting to reserve tables.