Bakery saved . . . by butchers

A FAMILY run bakery that has been serving a small town for around 300 years has been saved from closure by the neighbouring butcher, who is determined that his community's shops survive.

A FAMILY run bakery that has been serving a small town for around 300 years has been saved from closure by the neighbouring butcher, who is determined that his community's shops survive.

Brett's Bakery was run for 30 years by Roger Brett before his tragic death aged just 58 earlier this year, from a brain haemorrhage.

His devoted wife of 37 years Beatrix feared she would have to close the shop, which her husband had bought from the Nunn family during the 1970s.

But now Richard Smith, who owns R J Smith (Butchers) next door in Needham Market's High Street, has bought the bakery and is keeping it open.

The staff, including baker Andy Filby who has been working there for 25 years, have been kept on and Mrs Brett continues to serve loyal residents.

Mr Smith, who lives at nearby Battisford and is married with three children, said: “We were concerned that the bakery could go and felt it was important to keep our shops, it helps keep the centre of the village alive.

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“Independent retailers are so vital. We have older customers, but also a younger generation inspired by celebrity chefs. Our strengths are quality, over mass produced food.

“The flour is still hand rolled and we still use the brick oven at Brett's. We also use free range pigs at our butchers, have homemade pies and cure our own bacon. It's a very traditional operation.

“At the end of the day the way we do things is very labour intensive and we are never going to be cheaper than supermarkets. But we offer good quality food, at reasonable process.”

At the bread shop Mr Smith has taken on a patisserie baker and hopes to be able to create a walk through between the two neighbouring businesses, and open the bakery for longer to catch more customers.

Mrs Brett said: “Richard has saved the shop, he is such a gentleman, and it is lovely the bakery is still here. I am continuing to live in Needham Market, and am helping serve the customers.”

Brett's Bakery, a listed property which still uses a traditional brick oven, offers produce including different loaves, scones and sandwiches, which include ranges filled with high quality meat from the neighbouring business.

Mr Smith, 46, who comes from a farming family and owns another butchers shop in Essex, has won awards for his meat. R J Smith in Needham Market also traces its history back three centuries and he has been serving customers for 30 years, after starting work in the family concern aged just 16.

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