A growing Tyneside cake business is aiming for a larger slice of the national market
Cake Stories started as a Jesmond coffee house and cakery in 2015, but now has a café on Hoults Yard, a large bakehouse at Hypoint, a hugely-successful website and an expanding regional and national wholesale business.
“Our coffee houses and cakeries in Jesmond and Hoults Yard in Byker are doing very well, and we see great growth potential though our website and our wholesale offering,” said Ben Evans, who co-owns Cake Stories with his wife Hannah and her parents Liz and Jon Ward.
“As our coffee houses and the bakehouse were closed we used the first lockdown to rebrand the business and build our new website. We added a click and collect function to the old site and it worked well so we knew the potential was there and that we had to scale up.
“We’ve grown our baking capacity in preparation for further growth by adding two further kitchens – and offices – to our base at Hypoint in Gateshead, where we now have four units.
Hoults Yard is getting busier and we think it will be as busy as our Jesmond cakery.”
Word of mouth
“Our new website was launched in November 2020 and we’ve never looked back. Business has come in from all four corners of the UK – our most popular range is our Brownios, which are available in our Letterbox Bakes range which fit through a traditional letterbox,” said Ben.
“Our Brownios are two brownie shells filled with buttercream and jam and then dipped in chocolate. The Brownios tend to be favoured by younger people, with products such as our Greatest Hits Box more popular with our older customers,” he added.
The popularity of family-run Cake Stories has spread through word of mouth as well as social media and online marketing campaigns.
“Hoults Yard is getting busier and we think it will be as busy as our Jesmond cakery. We’re also looking to add another outlet – possibly in Durham.
“The online side of the business has taken off since the launch of the new website and we now have the infrastructure and capacity to fulfil the orders we get, so there’s no reason why growth won’t continue.
“However, it’s the wholesale side of the business where we see the most potential for next year. Before the pandemic we were supplying a few local outlets, and we’ve added a few more local and regional cafes since this time last year – but we’re now signing up national customers too.”
To cope with this extra demand, Cake Stories has been busily recruiting and the team is now 42 strong and includes Ben’s sister, also called Hannah. Ben and Hannah have also appointed a People and Culture Director to ensure the company doesn’t lose its culture and ethos while expanding.
Ben said: “It’s a really competitive market – after Bake Off was on the TV everyone wanted to bake or set up their own cakery, so you have to be good and you have to be different.
“Thanks to Hannah’s ace designs and our baking team’s hard work our cakes look amazing, they’re totally unique, and they taste as good as they look. We also spend a lot of time ensuring our customers’ experience is the best it can be – whether that’s as a customer at one of our cakeries, online or a wholesale customer.
“Our mantra is ‘everyone should feel better having interacted with Cake Stories,’ and everyone in our team buys into this,” he added.
For more information, log on to cakestories.com
@cakestoriesbakes on Instagram
@CakeStoriesBake on Twitter
@cakestoriesbakes on Facebook.