Pieminister ditches plans to move to South Wales
A HIGH-profile Bristol business has ditched controversial plans to move out of the city to a new base in South Wales.
Flagship firm Pieminister, which was founded in Bristol, announced in April it was planning to leave its factory in Westbury-on-Trym in favour of Llantrisant near Cardiff.
Around 40 people would have lost their jobs as a result of the move which the company said was forced on it when the lease for the property it was using came to an end. The firm was renting its four-acre bakery in Westbury from the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust but faced having to move when the lease expired.
But the company has reversed its decision after raising enough cash to purchase the property and the deal was finally sealed on Friday.
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The firm has always prided itself on the fact that its pies are baked in Bristol and the announcement it was planning to move was criticised in the city. Staff were given the option of relocation to the South Wales factory but the news means that their jobs will now stay in Bristol.
Jon Simon, who co-founded the firm with his brother-in-law and friend Tristan Hogg, said: "We always wanted to stay in Bristol but when the lease on the building ran out we did not have the money to buy the building we had been using as our bakery.
"We were looking at various options including moving the baking to South Wales but we have been looking at various solutions ever since April. Fortunately we were able to raise the funding with the help of the bank and with a little bit from elsewhere and we are now looking at expanding."
The company was set up in 2003 and specialises in top-of-the-range pies. As well as having shops in Bristol it also has outlets in London, Oxford and Trentham and is also a fixture on the festival circuit.
Jon, who came from a business background, said: "First and foremost we are a Bristol company and we wanted to stay loyal to the city.
"We have been looking at various ways to stay in Bristol and we are delighted that we have managed to put this deal together."
The firm has had its kitchens in Westbury since 2007 and the plan is now to expand them so it can increase the size of its baking operation.
Law firm Temple Bright carried out the negotiations on the seven-figure deal. Turnover is currently around £9 million but the plan is to double that over the next three years.
Tristan Hogg, who has a background in the catering industry, said: "We had a number of options and we looked at them all. We could have outsourced the production but that was never an option because we have always wanted to keep control of the process."