A POPULAR York bakery is branching out and opening a brand new cafe and production site in the city.

Nicky and Al Kippax who own the independent Bluebird Bakery are throwing open the doors to their new venture in the former Bathstore shop in Acomb on Saturday.

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Nicky and Al Kippax, of The Bluebird Bakery at their new cafe in Acomb. Picture: Nadia Jefferson-Brown

The large cafe has indoor and outdoor seating while, behind the scenes, there is the bakery and a community space where the couple plan to host training events and activity sessions for local groups and schools.

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An insider's view of the Bluebird Bakery's established shop on Shambles, York

The new Bluebird Bakery is the duo's latest venture, having started out baking from their home in 2011 and then moving from a market stall to their own shops in Talbot Yard, Malton, Leeds Kirkgate Market and Little Shambles in York.

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Finishing touches are being made to the new cafe ahead of Saturday's launch.

Nicky said they were doing the finishing touches ahead of opening at 9am on Saturday. "We have had three bakes here and they all went well."

It is the couple's first cafe and they drew on their own experience as parents of two children to ensure it was welcoming and spacious for young families, and accessible.

Recognising they had invested 'a substantial sum' during a global pandemic, Nicky said they had been keen to develop the business, their products and a training programme for some time, and were confident.

"We didn't want a soulless place on the A64," said Nicky, while Al said the cost of having the same size premises in York city centre would have been 'ridiculous'.

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The new cafe which has indoor and outdoor seating is spacious and accessible.

"We have been through the hoops about all the risks involved and it is a calculated risk," added Nicky. "We have had our sights set on Acomb for some time and it is a busy area with a lot of footfall. It doesn't feel like a dangerous risk.

"We have a community room in the back for our training programme, teaching for the sheer pleasure of it, so that people can share the whole process from the start to taking a loaf home to their family. That will be up and running by Christmas."

The kitchen, overseen by Al and head baker Janos Tukarcs, has an oven large enough to bake 256 loaves at once.

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"But we are not a push-button bakery," insisted Nicky.

Everything is made by hand on the table in the centre of the kitchen which also boasts two giant mixing bowls.

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One of two giant mixing bowls in the new kitchen.

"The bakers bake until 4am and finish as the drivers arrive. They load up and it goes out to probably 40 to 50 wholesale customers in the Leeds, York, Malton triangle, such as delis, restaurants, cafes and shops."

The bakery is also continuing its domestic deliveries, which it offered during the lockdowns.

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The Bluebird business employs 17 people, including front-of-house staff, bakers and drivers. This is expected to increase to about 25, including apprenticeship roles.

The bakery is a Real Living Wage accredited-employer so 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.

Al said: "If you pay staff well, it shows you value their efforts and encourages them to stay longer."

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Picture: Esme Mai Photography

The move coincides with the bakery’s ten-year anniversary and new plans to introduce a rolling apprenticeship scheme, training aspiring bakers to work alongside experienced staff.

The space has been designed by artist and designer Jo Walton, of Rogues Atelier, who worked with the couple on both the York and Leeds shops.

The decor features images by York photographer Esme Mai, a wall painting by mural artist Sam Porter and illustrations by Leah Pendleton, with plants from York-based Botanic.

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The Bluebird Bakery cafe, at 201 Acomb Road, York, will be open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.