May 25, 2024

Fast-growing Wrexham bakery keeps on trucking after big 90th birthday salute

Village Bakery; (Right and Left ) Jonno and Chris Williams with Kath Ashcroft, Glen Marriott and Simon Thorpe of the Village Bakery. Picture Mandy Jones

A transport company is celebrating a bakery’s 90th birthday in a big way.

C&M Transport has adorned the latest, £240,000 addition to its 20-strong fleet of articulated lorries with the Jones Village Bakery branding to mark the milestone anniversary and the signing of a new three-year contract.

The firm now has up to 10 of those trucks and six temperature controlled vans delivering the bakery’s award-winning products to supermarkets across the UK every day.

The two Wrexham companies go back a long way to the 1990s to when C&M Transport founder Chris Williams sold vans to Alan Jones who bought the bakery – originally established in 1934 – with his father in 1964.

Back then the bakery employed just six members of staff and was based in Park Road in Coedpoeth, just a stone’s throw from where Chris and his family lived in Penygelli Road.

After leaving school aged 16, Chris’s son, Jonno, joined the bakery as an apprentice, by which time the ever-growing firm had moved to much bigger premises up the road in Minera.

Rising star Jonno qualified as a trained baker but the lure of joining his dad at the transport company proved too strong and he swapped making bread and pies for eating up the miles at the wheel of an articulated lorry.

Fast forward to 2010 and C&M Transport started making deliveries for the bakery, initially in a small way.

By then Alan was company chairman and two of his sons were at the helm of the Village Bakery, Robin as managing director and Christien as projects director.

Following a period of spectacular growth, it now also has five other bakeries on Wrexham Industrial Estate and more than 850 staff – with sales, topping £100 million last year.

Jonno Williams, now the haulier’s general manager, said:  “We thought that putting their anniversary branding on the side of the new truck was a great way to celebrate our partnership with the Village Bakery.

“It’s been a brilliant, mutually beneficial relationship and my mentality is that you should always bend over backwards to look after the customer.

“As a company, we have grown alongside the Village Bakery and the new contract means we can keep on growing with them and we currently employ 40 people.”

According to his dad, Chris, attention to detail and the determination to do things properly was at the heart of everything they did.

He said: “We handpick the drivers to make sure they’re the right fit for our customers and we don’t use agency drivers.

“The new contract is a great show of faith in us and our capabilities. The relationship has been good for them and great for us too.”

Jones Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones said: “This is a big year for us and this lovely gesture is the perfect birthday present for us.

“It underlines the strength of the relationship between the two companies which is why we wanted to reward them with a new three-year contract.

“Jonno’s background as a baker makes him uniquely qualified to understand our transport needs and how to ensure our products are always delivered in tip top shape.

“We are really proud to have C&M Transport  delivering our products because we know that the investment they make in trailers and trucks – their service is always spot on and totally reliable which is incredibly important for our customers.

“The company is another Wrexham success story. They’ve worked extremely hard to get to where they are and we’re proud to support them.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Supply Chain Manager Kath Ashcroft who said: “C&M Transport clearly care about doing the best possible job as a haulier. They go above and beyond the call of duty for us and they are great ambassadors for the Village Bakery.”

Operations director Simon Thorpe added: “It’s wonderful to see Village Bakery’s name emblazoned on the side of the 40-ton wagon. It’s something to be very proud of.

“The key word for me in this is partnership and about understanding our needs end to end.

“We can make the best possible products but if it doesn’t go out to the main consumer on time, in full, then we might as well have not done it.

“You can argue they’re the most important link in the supply chain because if the consignment doesn’t get there, it doesn’t matter how good the bread is, so they have been incredibly important in enabling us to continue growing.”