Rising to the challenge of her own bakery business

IPSWICH: It has been a steep learning curve for single mum Joanne Harris.

But she has risen to the challenges and overcome them since she launched Elevenses sandwich shop and bakery in Nacton Road.

The sandwich shop had a long history as a bakery but it needly completely refitting and kitting out when she took over in January, with the help and support of her family.

It was a difficult time to launch a new business, especially with a brand new Tesco Express just a few doors away in competition.

“It has been a very steep learning curve,” explained Jo, who juggles the new business with caring for her two children.

“It sometimes seems like I live here. I do the paperwork and administration after the children have gone to bed. It’s been an amazing journey since opening. I wasn’t sure how and when I was going to get the equipment required for a fully operation bakery.

“Battling against supermarket Tesco seemed risky enough in such uncertain times, but to then make a further investment for �4,500 seemed a bridge too far, even for me.

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“In mid-February I began prompting the Prince’s Trust for funding and I was able to obtain a �1,000 loan from the trust to put towards the cost of the machiney. A commercial provider had the required equipment in stock.”

She had intended taking out a personal loan but, surfing the internet found what she was looking for in Wales that turned out to be a family bakery selling equipment.

“We hired a van and travelled to Wales and as luck would have it the family were selling a number of items.”

With baker Clive Driver on board Elevenses has adopted the slogan “probably the best baker in town?”

“Elevenses is fighting back, and like many small bakeries in the UK, we have a spirit and a personal touch,” said Joanne. “We are getting such a lot of support from the local community, it is really pleasing.”

n Do you know of a business which is fighting back? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk