They bake all that they sell
Crumbz Bakery is little but has a lot of variety.
After opening The Flour Warehouse in 2012, general manager Curtis Todd and his team, which includes manager Shakira Cott, have risen to the task of providing tasty breads, cakes and pastries two years later.
Cott told the BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that after flour sales slowed, Todd realised there was a need for a bakery and moved in this direction, which is paying off.
“There was a bit of a challenge at first trying to get the De Molen product out into the market. After it got out there, especially the packaged flour, we carried bales of self-rising, all purpose and whole wheat, which we offered to the supermarkets where the general public was able to use it for home consumption. That got off pretty good in the first few months,” she explained.
Todd’s idea of a business selling solely flour came after spending years working at Barbados Mills. He saw a niche and started.
Two years on there are 23 full and part-time staffers who work at the bakery and the retail store in Eagle Hall, and even though Cott said locally sourced flour is still sold, the concentration is on Crumbz with plans to expand to a bigger space.
“We sell a variety of baked goods. From salt bread to [sandwich breads, cakes and pastries]. In addition to the regular products Barbadians are accustomed to, we also have a variety of Jamaican products, bulla cakes, spiced and hard dough bread, which we offer two to three days a week. This is the area we have branched into.
“We weren’t seeing a lot of Jamaican products out there and there was a baker who approached us. We said we would try and see how it works. We started last year and they were available for the first five-six months, then we stopped for a while and only restarted about two months ago,” she added.
It was their Jamaican baker’s idea. He was the first person they hired after opening the bakery which they started from scratch in July last year.
“We didn’t know anything about baking. We had no employees so we had to hire people . . . . After we hired the Jamaican baker we brought in another baker to do cakes and sweetbread,” Cott said.The business is the Cake and Pastry Factory under which the bakery falls. She said in those early days they bought products from Baker’s Mart as well as Purity to sell but that has changed.
“We make everything except the drinks we sell,” she said proudly.
Most Barbadians seem to live by the saying “good flour never sour” and while they buy baked goods throughout the week, Sunday evenings is the busiest time for Crumbz.
“We have been discussing getting our products branded and sold in supermarkets. We’ve actually gone ahead and got some labels done for some bags so we can try to get into the wider community, supermarkets, gas stations, and small shops. We will not only be getting into the shops but we can have the brand out there.
“Right now we have customers that will order for their small shops but to get the packaging and the labels in place will be very beneficial for us because people will actually be seeing the logo and location,” the manager explained.
Expansion plans have already started with the rental of a Barbados Investment and Development Corporation building in Wildey.
Cott said, however, they are not quite ready to move in as there are “some renovations” that have to be done.
“When we first started the cakes and pastries we had a location in mind in Wildey where we would have the baking.
“We still have the space but we’re looking to expand as far as a wider production is concerned.
“We were waiting and we decided that we have this location in Eagle Hall where the Flour Warehouse used to operate from.
“Then we realized business was slowing down so we went ahead and started here,” she recalled.
Apart from the physical space, they also have to acquire additional equipment including freezers and ovens, so that when they do start everything would flow smoothly.
“We would also hire more people at the Wildey location, including additional bakers,” Cott added.
She noted that with the expansion they would not only be able to get their products into a variety of outlets around the island but also have people who sold bread around the island buying directly from them. (Green Bananas Media)