A rapidly rising North East cake company is planning further national growth on the back of a major award win and national retailer deals.
Team Valley based Cake Stories was launched seven years ago by Hannah Evans and her family, as a simple baking enterprise from her mum’s kitchen. Since then, it has grown into a large enterprise which she runs with her husband Ben and parents Liz and Jon Ward, employing 45 people across several sites.
Now, after winning the regional category in the Family Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Ms Evans is hoping to see the family’s bakes sold across the UK, building on a brace of top deals. She said: “It was a business that literally started in my mum’s kitchen – no backers, no investors – and we’ve grown the business organically. It’s a simple business really, we make cakes and sell them. We’re even being stocked in selected John Lewis stores, which we hope to expand on in the coming year, along with partnering with the expanding coffee shop franchise 222 Coffee.”
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Cake Stories opened its first cake and coffee shop in Jesmond in 2015, and grew when it started supplying other coffee shops with its cakes, traybakes and brownies – first regionally and then nationally. To keep up with demand, Cake Stories opened a bakehouse kitchen at Hypoint in Salt Meadows Road, Gateshead, followed by a second cafe at Byker business hub, Hoults Yard.
It also has a manufacturing facility which offers UK-wide distribution for wholesale customers and fulfilment for sales from its online store. Growth has been strong and the company now supplies more than 200 cafes across the country and turnover grew 129% in the year ended October 2022.
A stack of cookies by Cake Stories (Image: Cake Stories) Ms Evans said she was proud of the award win, adding: “I was thrilled to win against such great competition, it’s recognition of the success of the family company and the hard work of our brilliant team. More than 5,000 applied across 13 categories and it was a tough judging process. It was the awards’ tenth anniversary and they’re growing year on year. Former winners include investor and entrepreneur Steve Bartlett and Dragon Den’s star Sara Davies.
“In the past year, the wholesale side of the business has grown by 260 per cent, leading us to take on three new full-time bakers and double the size of our bakehouse kitchen. The cafe had been doing well, but the growth really started three years ago when we opened the bakehouse and moved into the wholesale business.
“Cafes like what we do, the variety and colour, and of course the quality. We freeze what we bake, pack them and heat seal them in biodegradable bags, and then post them round the country. The award is vindication of our approach – we’re still very much a family business and are proud to be based in the north east, creating North East jobs.”
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