Popular York city centre bakery to close after 27 years

Inside Pinder And Scott on Shambles. Photograph: Facebook
19 May 2019 @ 6.02 pm
| Business, Shopping

It is the shop that brings the smell of fresh-baked bread to Shambles.

But soon Pinder And Scott bakery will close its doors for good.

The artisan baker is due to shut up shop at the end of June. It marks the end of the last bakery in the city centre which bakes its own bread on the premises.

Sales are still good – it has a turnover in bread of about £90K per annum. But a combination of high rent and rates – and changing shopping habits – has seen it lose about £500 a month and, after a year of trying, the owners say: “We have simply run out of money”.

A new shop is due to move into the vacant premises in July, but no details about this have been disclosed yet.

Council not listening

The exterior of the shop on Shambles. Photograph: YorkMix
One of York’s most iconic shops, Pinder And Scott is currently featured in Conde Nast Travel’s must-visit food places in York.

Opened in 1992 as Via Vecchia, it was taken over in April 2018 by the owners of two nearby shops – Adam Scott of the Shambles Sweet Shop and Phil Pinder of accessories specialist Cuffs & Co.

The previous owner Jim Hardie stayed on to bake the bread under the Via Vecchia brand.

Adam and Phil refitted the shop and expanded the range, while keeping unique and popular products like the cheese and Marmite loaf. But sadly it has not proved enough in this difficult retailing environment.

This famous Shambles face will also be disappearing

Phil told YorkMix:

  • We would like to thank all the loyal customers we have had over the years, and hope to continue welcoming them over the next few weeks.

    It’s a shame we have had to take this decision, but the traditional High Street is in crisis and the powers that be are not listening – the council are the landlords, and think that rents should just keep on rising.

    They have a magical figure of achieving a rent of £100 per square foot for every Shambles shop, blind to the ongoing crisis affecting our High Street.

Another challenge has been changing shopping habits. Regular customers visit York less often, “so we need more customers, who buy less often,” Phil said.

The closure will mean five job losses, one full-time and four part-time.

Bakery history

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Via Vecchia was created and run for many years by Alistair Lawton. As a chef he worked at the Ritz and Claridges hotels. Later he joined the staff of the luxury liner QE2, only for it to be requisitioned for use in the Falklands War – so he worked in the kitchens to feed the British fighting forces.

He opened Via Vecchia as a delicatessen in 1992. Four years later he turned it into a bakery pure and simple. At the time there was nothing like it in the city – selling beautiful home baked breads ranging from rustic French classics to ciabatta to wonderfully English cheese and Marmite loaves.

Former licensee of the Blue Bell, Jim Hardie, took over in 2015. Via Vecchia was joined by the Bluebird Bakery which opened on Little Shambles in 2015.

Adam and Phil took over in April 2018.