Couple hope new artisan bakery will prove recipe for success
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
ARTISAN bakers hope to get taste buds tingling with a sumptuous range of breads, cakes and pies 13 months after they had to “mothball” their business.
Alex Lister and his partner, Catherine Brown, from Hamsterley, are hoping that moving the RISE Artisan Bakery to Barnard Castle will be the recipe for success following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The couple, who met while working at Clervaux in Darlington, have been in business together for the past eight years.
They initially set up RISE Artisan Bakery in Crook in 2015, working through the night to produce batches of bloomers, sour dough, scones, ciabatta and baguettes. They sold them at a range of markets, building up their wholesale customers.
Moving to Grainger Market, in Newcastle, three years ago complemented their wholesale business.
Mr Lister said: “We were really building the business and taking on more staff and then Covid-19 kicked in. For the first time in 100 years being in the centre of a city was not the place to be.”
Walk-in trade disappeared overnight with office workers being told to stay at home and wholesale orders dried up with hospitality venues closed. Mr Lister added: “We had to mothball the whole business and have spent the last year just getting by. When this property came up it was too good to turn down.”
They plan to turn the two-storey shop at 13 Horsemarket, which has been empty since last year when Edinburgh Woollen Mill closed after three decades, into a thriving bakery with top quality breads, pies and patisserie.
Mr Lister said: “My brother was a bit sceptical about the address with it being 13 – he thought it could be unlucky. But it’s a baker’s dozen, so I think that cancels it out.
“Our idea is to have the bakery and shop on the ground floor and in the long term have a cafe bistro on the second floor.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get everything sorted and it hinges on whether we can get permission to install the extraction chimney at the back of the building for the bakery.
“We know our bread is good but we have a vision of an Anglo-American-French style theme.
“It’s kind of a hodge-podge of all the best culinary bits.
“The French bit comes in with croissant and fresh baguettes and garlic bread, American with top quality cheesecakes and the English with pies and full butter pastry.
“The long-term plan is to turn the upstairs into a cafe bistro with simple but tasty food – but that takes money and we need to concentrate on getting the business open again first.
“We will be looking to take on staff both in the shop and bakery and then ultimately in the cafe. But at the moment it is just us and we have a lot of work to do.”