Artisan bakery celebrates success with expansion to new premises
An artisan bakery started by mum Melissa O'Dwyer in her small home kitchen in Rownhams opened its first business unit last week - with a team of three staff and an ever rising order list from local customers.
Little Bee Bakery makes bespoke handmade products including cakes, biscuits and whoopie pies using natural ingredients from local producers, with a large and growing range of gluten, dairy free and vegan products.
Started as a hobby five years ago by local 'mumpreneur' and avid cook Melissa, the business now boasts commercial and individual customers across Hampshire. To keep up with demand, the bakery has just moved from an 8ftx11ft home kitchen to a 600sq ft business unit on the Abbey Park Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Romsey, and Melissa now has three members of staff on her payroll, with plans to employ an apprentice.
Local MP Caroline Nokes officially opened the new Little Bee Bakery at Unit 24 Basepoint, Abbey Park Industrial Estate, off Luzborough Lane, Romsey SO51 9AQ. The Mayor of Test Valley, Janet Whiteley, was also present.
Melissa said: 'I've always been a keen cook and when my son was born five years ago I began to bake my own cakes. The baking bug bit and when he started school I gave up my full-time job in sales to concentrate on building Little Bee Bakery into a successful local business. I've had fantastic support along the way from organisations such as Hampshire Fare, and I'm really looking forward to the bakery continuing to be a hive of activity over 2014 and beyond.'
Caroline Nokes said:'I shouldn't admit to being a bit of a biscuit addict, but Melissa's really are the best. Little Bee Bakery is a brilliant example of a local business that has gone from strength to strength, and Melissa is an inspiration of what can be achieved with some determination, talent and a lot of hard work. It is a real honour to have been asked to open the new bakery in the massively expanded premises and I have no doubt Little Bee Bakery will continue to grow.'
From the beginning, Melissa's ethos has been to bake using high quality ingredients sourced locally where possible, from suppliers such as Strawberry Fields Foods (Sopley, New Forest), Leckford Estate Flour (nr Stockbridge), Mozzo Coffee (Southampton), Clayton Eggs (Romsey) and Lavender Fields (Alton).
Little Bee Bakery's product range includes celebration and family cakes, 11 varieties of whoopee pies, iced biscuits, cheesecakes and afternoon tea cakes and scones. Products can be delivered by Little Bee Bakery in Hampshire and some items can be posted to the rest of the UK (charges apply). Little Bee Bakery supplies many corporate clients in Hampshire, cafes and tea rooms in Southampton, Winchester and the New Forest, local farm shops and delis as well as a growing army of local private customers.
Further information on Little Bee Bakery can be found on Facebook at Littlebbakery or on the soon to be launched website www.littlebeebakery.co.uk. Telephone orders can be taken on 01794 329263. Little Bee Bakery also regularly attends local farmers' markets and producers fairs.