MP visits official opening of AE Barrow

12th March 2013
MP visits official opening of AE Barrow

Sittingbourne baker AE Barrow is set to relaunch after a major investment in their property.

AE Barrow and sons was established in 1931 by William Barrow and his father AE Barrow. After William Barrow passed away the firm was run by his daughter Mrs J D Reynolds for many years until finally retiring in 2009 leaving her son Simon Reynolds to take control of the reigns and drive the business forward.

The business is in the same property at 38a High Street Sittingbourne to this day with the bakers shop and coffee shop on the site, also the majority of the products are made and baked in the bakehouse on the premises.

The business has another well established bakers in Silverweed Road in Chatham and in July 2010 opened a new outlet in St Peter’s Street in Canterbury. With 36 employees, some of whom have been with the business for decades the company has continued to grow despite the recession.

The company is now taking the next step in its development by re designing the coffee shop in Sittingbourne to bring it into the 21st century.

Master baker Simon Reynolds has ambitious plans for the new cafe. He said: “There is a real pride being involved with a family business that goes back over 80 years and I am determined to keep up the traditions of quality and service that have made us so successful.

Our company is doing well but with the level of competition from larger operators it is important to keep developing the business so this major investment in the cafe is an important step for us.”

The changes have involved removing the old archways and cabinets and making the cafe more open plan. There are new chiller cabinets and decor and a state of the art coffee machine. The menu has also changed with Shepherds Pie and Cauliflower cheese being replaced with fresh Panini, sandwiches and hot savouries.

One link to the old cafe has been maintained, the place mats with scenes of old Sittingbourne have been enlarged and are now displayed on the walls.

Gordon Henderson MP visited the cafe to meet the team and perform the official opening. He said: “In an age in which our High Streets are going through a tough time it is encouraging to see one of our long standing shops doing so well.

Barrows are leading the way in showing what can be done to reinvigorate the high street. A specialist shop selling quality products, that is the way forward. I am impressed with the support that AE Barrows has received from Barclays, it is good to see a bank working hard to support its customers.

The business has been supported from the start by Barclays and Sittingbourne based business manager Gary Fitchett has arranged the finance for the expansion.

Simon continued: “In the last recession Mum was struggling and Barclays helped us out. They have always been there for us and without Barclays support we would not have been able to do this revamp. Gary is helpful and approachable and exactly what you want in a business manager.”

Gary said: “Small businesses like AE Barrow are the backbone of the local economy. Simon has ambitious plans and a clear strategy to achieve them. It is great to work with him to help to achieve his aims and I look forward to supporting the business long into the future.”

The finance was arranged through Barclays Cashback for Business scheme which is part of the Governments Funding for lending initiative. Through the Barclays scheme businesses benefit from an instant cashback injection of two percent on loans which they can use to develop their businesses.

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