OWNERS of a popular independent bakery in York are opening a new shop, cafe and production site in the city.

Nicky and Al Kippax, of Bluebird Bakery, are marking the tenth anniversary of their business which started at their kitchen table at home by launching new premises in Acomb.

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Al Kippax at work in Malton Bluebird Bakery. Picture: Esme Mai Photography

Nicky said the venture which will create five jobs had started to feel like a distant dream after being caught up in the planning system for nine months during the pandemic, but work is now under way on the site.

The new bakery is expected to open at 201 York Road, Acomb, in the premises of a former bathroom shop, in early summer.

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What customers can expect from the new premises in Acomb. Picture: Esme Mai Photography

Ex-chef and baker Al said: “We’re big fans of Acomb - it’s a lively and thriving place and we’re really looking forward to opening our doors in the area as soon as we can.

"We started baking from our home in 2011 and moved from a market stall to our first shop soon after.

"Our business might have grown but the way we make bread is exactly the same, using long-fermentation for our sourdough with no improvers or additives.

"We’ve got a brilliant team and it’s about time they had space to stretch out a bit. We can’t wait to get started and meet our new customers.”

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Sarah Henson, supervisor in York Picture: Esme Mai Photography

Bluebird Bakery currently employs about 15 people at its sites, in production, retail and administration posts.

"We are hoping this will open up employment for five more roles," said Nicky. "Because we have much more room there will be chance to do a rolling apprenticeship scheme."

Through the scheme aspiring bakers would work alongside experienced staff.

"There's a training room. We are hoping to have people in, maybe school groups. We would love to do bakery lessons."

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It is the latest addition to the couple's business which already has shops in Talbot Yard, Malton, Leeds Kirkgate Market and Little Shambles in York.

As well as selling to shop customers, Bluebird also supplies to about 50 wholesale outlets, such as delis, cafes and restaurants scattered between Malton, York and Leeds.

DUring lockdown, they also set up domestic deliveries with people who are shielding among their customers.

"It is still really popular. There's no sense in cutting it short. It has opened a new avenue for us," said Nicky.

Designs are being drawn up with artist and designer Jo Walton, of Rogues Atelier, who worked with the couple on both the York and Leeds shops.

Nicky said: “We’re so happy to be working with Jo again. She knows exactly who we are as a business, but is also brilliant at helping us to think about new ideas and approaches to design and colour.

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"We hope to use the bright, open space as a gallery for local artists too, so we’re encouraging people to get in touch if they’d like to display work."

The bakery is a Real Living Wage accredited-employer which means that all staff are paid a UK wage rate voluntarily paid by 7,000 UK businesses who believe staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs - like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist.

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Nicky said the cafe would have indoor and outdoor seating, and be family friendly.

They are looking for experienced cafe staff to help with the new project. Anyone who is great with people, eager to learn and interested in working with Bluebird Bakery should contact Nicky at hello@bluebirdbakery.co.uk with an up to date CV.