The Slattery Story
The Slattery Story so far....
The business was started by Bernard and Margaret Slattery in 1967.
Bernard had started his working life as a page boy at the Mayfair cinema, Whitefield, but still a teenager, was called up to join the RAF to serve in the Middle East desert campaign as a gunner. With his hearing damaged, he moved to the cookhouse and bakery. After the war he went to work with shipping company Manchester Liners. Baking fresh bread and cakes while travelling from Salford docks to Montreal, a round trip taking about a month. Between trips Bernard went to what was then the Salford Technical college to do his formal City and Guilds qualifications in bread and flour confectionary. After qualifying, he went to gain experience at various bakeries in the area including Bury Co-op, as well as several family businesses.
Bernard and Margaret were married in 1950, their son John was born in 1953 and their daughter Ann in 1959.
The original bakery that Margaret and Bernard opened on 30th June 1967 was in cleveland road, Crumpsall, along with a small shop on Marlborough road, Higher Broughton. Margaret took on the running of the shops and the accounts for the business.
John was 14 when the family went into business and would help in the bakery after school and at weekends. At 16 he went to Salford College to formally train in baking and confectionary, and spent time in Switzerand and Europe gaining further qualifications and experience.
Ann also attended the college a few years later and met husband to be Stephen Barnes, who also joined the family firm after gaining his qualifications.
The business grew in reputation and size, with another shop opening in Salford. This was replaced in 1979 by one in Prestwich, wich remained open unti lthe mid 1980's. During those years the business won many accolades in the national bakery competitions, with John, Ann and Steve taking on all corners of the UK to win the UK bakers of the year award, four years in a row.
As the bakery flourished so did the family. John marrid Marilyn and had daughters Kate in 1978 and Laura in 1980. Ann and Steve had 3 children, Sarah in 1982, Anthony in 1984 and Joanne in 1986.
In 1991 Bernard and Margaret retired, Ann, Steve and John looked set to take over the business. However, with growing families to support, it was decided that expansion was required. Ann and Steve took over the running of the current Crupsall bakery, whilst John opened a new business in Whitefield at 15 Bury New Road, where he concentrated on the "Sweetest things in life".
John's passions and expertise always lay in the confectionary side of the business and this new branch to the family business concentrated on producing handmade chocolates, gateaux and desserts alongside birthday, wedding and celebration cakes. This new business and the original bakery worked closely together over the years, with the bakery producing the majority of of the baked products for the Whitefield store.
As John's reputation spread and with a truly unique award winning enterprise, the business quickly out-grew the original premises and moved up the road to 190 - 192 Bury New Road. Within 2 years, of moving to this building, further space was again needed. The purchase and conversion of the house at 194 Bury New Road provided the extra space needed.
By this point John's eldest daughter Kate had joined the business, working both at the bakery in Crumpsall and then at the Whitefield branch after studying catering at college. Laura who had worked in the shop since the age of 14 at weekends and on school holidays, joined the business on a full time business on a full time basis in 2002, after completing a degree in Business studies at Nottingham Trent University.
With John safe in the knowledge that the business would continue with the next generation of Slattery's, the decision was taken greatly to expand in 2004 but true to form not very far. John had set his sights on a local landmark, the neglected 100 year old Masons Arms Public House. Located just opposite the current business, it was the perfect opportunity to develop and grow the business, without losing customers by moving very far. The former pub was completely derelict and a complete renovation took place in just over 6 months. The business closed for just two days while the move from one side of the road to the other took place!
This new building was able to house a stunning wedding cake show room, elegant dining room and the 'Slattery School of Excellence'. This unique training facility provides courses and demonstrations for both the trade and the general public, covering everything from chocolate, sugar modelling, cake creation to cookery and wine tasting.
Ann & Steve's children joined the business after the expansion. Their eldest Sarah, became a member of the cake decorating team in 2004 and now heads up the department, their son Anthony has risen to the position of Shop Manager after working in the admin and support side of the business for several years, since joining in 2003 and Joanne who worked weekends for many years, joined full time in 2014 concentrating on web development and marketing. Kate took on a new role within the school, supporting the course tutor.
There have been minor changes to the business over the years since moving to the new site, however 2012 saw a year of major changes and building work. The family got together and decided that the best thing for the future of the company would be to re-unite the two sides of the business. By bringing the Crumpsall bakery and the Whitefield business together, things would be logistically easier and also make succession planning for the future simpler too.
After the decision to unite the two side of the business was taken, the family looked at the feasibility of moving to a new site to offer a fresh start to the business and combat the problems of limited parking that the current Whitefield site suffers from. It was important that a new site would be still located in the local area and close to the motorway and main road that link Bury & Manchester. Several options were viewed and despite the best attempts to secure a suitable site, it was not to be.
It was decided that after all other avenues had been explored, that the next best option was to modify the current site In order to accommodate the bakery and extend working areas that were struggling for space. To make this happen an extensive six stage building and refurbishment programme was undertaken, over the space of 2 years, starting in November 2011.
This involved firstly building a two storey extension (1200sq. feet) to the left side of the building. This houses a new large walk in freezer on the ground, to cope with the extra requirements of storage from the bakery. It also is home to an extended loading bay and storage area. Above it a new, more luxurious toilet block was added.
By knocking through where the old toilets were once situated and in the conference room that was next to it, the space for the new 1,100 sq feet bakery was created – housing 2 large deck ovens, a retarder-prover, walk-in fridge and freezers and all the bakery equipment that was originally at the Crumpsall bakery.
Thirdly, a new 1000 sq foot kitchen was built on what was once an outside terrace space, which didn't get used to its full potential with the unreliable Manchester weather!!
A further building stage involved incorporating the area that was once the old kitchen into the dining room – providing an additional 40 seats, a new bar and waiting area and allowing the complete refurbishment of the dining room adding booth seating, new flooring, new tables and chairs and full redecoration.
To the right of the building, adjacent to the car park the fifth and sixth stage of building have been completed. A single storey extension, with feature Apex roof houses a new, doubled-size chocolate room complete with viewing windows from the shop. The front area adds a further 300 sq feet to the shop area, which provides a purpose built chocolate sales area.
A complete refurbishment of the shop and wedding showroom area, completed in September 2013 has transformed the look of ground floor and is the final step in the complete renovation of the business.
With 8 immediate members of the Family and 3 members of the extended family working together on the same site, Slattery is now in its third generation. Two members of the next generation are already keen to join the business when old enough, so the business looks safe to continue to a 4th generation in the not-so-distant future!