Horsforth bakery “couldn’t have done” first year of business without community spirit

Slow Rise Bakery, 2a Sunnybank Crescent, Horsforth

Slow Rise Bakery in Horsforth has credited the local communities with keeping the bakery afloat in its first year of business.

The bakery only opened its doors in March, before quickly closing them again once lockdown restrictions came into place but found support in both the local independent business community and the local resident community.

Speaking to Yorkshire Voice, bakery owners Nick Simpson and Nerys Hudson said that it is really important for them as a business to be part of a community.

Nerys Hudson, 35, co-founder of Slow Rise said: “As a new business, we couldn’t have done it without some independent businesses that have actively helped us, given us encouragement, given us advice – and that’s something we want to make sure we can pay forward.

“The independent community in Leeds is vocal and very open in their support of each other which is absolutely necessary for all independents to keep going.”

The bakery recently signed up to be a part of the new OPEN Gift Card scheme, a gift card that can be used in a growing number of independent businesses around Leeds.

As an emerging business, Nick and Nerys were keen to support the scheme and were drawn to its focus on independents like their bakery.

“It’s important for us as a business to find and support other businesses at a similar stage and support each other through that,” Nerys said.

OPEN started development last year, and began signing up businesses a few months ago, before officially launching last month.

The scheme was dreamt up when co-founder Tim Rooke, 39, had a bad experience with a gift card he got for Christmas from his parents, so he wanted to create a user-friendly gift card whilst also advocating for small business.

Tim said: “The sentiment around shopping local, gifting local and buying local is there in droves.

“These are the bedrocks of our communities”, he added.

At the beginning of 2020, small to medium businesses made up 99 per cent of the six million private businesses in the UK.

OPEN has also joined forces with Leeds Indie Food, which has a catalogue of over 700 local independents and is part of the #buyLeeds campaign.

The OPEN Gift Card also appealed to Nick and Nerys because it has the potential to open up the bakery doors to new customers who otherwise may not have known they were there.

OPEN Gift Card and everything bagels

However, Nick and Nerys are still very thankful for the community that supported them from the beginning.

Nerys said: “One of the reasons we’re really happy to be in Horsforth is that we’re part of a community that really gets independent businesses.

“If you don’t have that community, what’s the point of independence if you’re just in it for yourself.”

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