Prima Bakeries Primed for Success

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SWIG Finance are delighted to share good news from one of their ex-customers, Prima Bakeries, who have been doing record business and recruiting new staff, at a time when other businesses are losing jobs.

SWIG Finance helped Mark and Lynne Norton take over the long- established Prima Bakeries business in Scorrier back in 2010. The Nortons were relocating back to Cornwall having run their own holiday home business in Brittany for several years.

It was just the challenge the Nortons were looking for, and they knew they could raise the finance they needed on top of their own funds – until the sale of their French property fell through, and the bank wouldn’t consider it as collateral for further support.

Mark contacted SWIG, who were able to help complete the financial package required with a loan of £20,000, which helped safeguard the existing 19 jobs and usher the business into a new era.

Fast forward to 2020, and Prima have increased their headcount from 19 to 96 employees, 3 vans to 12 and 500 pasties a week to 30,000.

The business has continued to grow and in the last few months has seen demand go through the roof, especially from people who might have been shielding or wary of going into shops.

“We sold over 80,000 homebake frozen pasties during the lockdown,” said owner and managing director Mark Norton as well as hundreds of boxes sent all over the UK via our mail order service.

“We continued to trade through the lockdown. We didn’t lay off staff or furlough anyone and it’s been so busy we have actually recruited seven new people.”

The business is now seven times bigger and operates 24/7 mainly as a wholesale business, with a single shop at the front of the bakery.

Prima Bakeries doesn’t have a high-street presence but the factory shop in Scorrier, just off the A30, has done good trade through the pandemic – especially the frozen section, which opened to help people when supermarkets shelves were empty.

Mark said: “Our retail trade went down when the hospitality sector closed down but our home delivery and wholesale trade to Spar, Co-op, Costcutter and other convenience stores went up as bigger supermarkets struggled.

“I didn’t want us to profiteer from Covid and the lockdown so I made sure we sold our classic steak pasty for £1.25 so hard-up families who were struggling could have a meal for four for £5.

“Our pasties and other frozen baked goods did tremendously well. It’s been so successful that we had to open a special extension to the shop at the front of the bakery.

“Through our partnership with the Cornish Hamper Company we’ve seen our mail-order side of the business go through the roof.

“We’re still very small compared to Ginsters, but to make sure we continued to make our pasties by hand we recruited more people and continued to focus on making the best top-quality products possible.”

Mark said: “I’ll always be grateful to SWIG who moved very quickly to solve our funding dilemma and were key to making all of this happen in the first place”