A BAKERY celebrating a new store opening says that engaging with the community is the secret to reviving the high street.
Warrens Bakery officially opened its new store in Gosport yesterday morning, creating seven jobs and offering a new place to stop for lunch in the high street.
The company has been focusing on opening stores in Hampshire, with another bakery already set up in Waterlooville.
According to store partner Ali Rupani, the bakery can ‘bring tradition’ back to the high street.
He said: ‘We wanted to provide a traditional bakery for people in Gosport, and are really excited to be here.
‘It isn’t uncommon for people to talk about the death of the high street, but competition here is thriving and to create new jobs in the area is also great.
‘This is something that is completely different – this bakery feels like a hub where people can get out and socialise with one another over a fresh pasty.
‘It’s all about choice, and this bakery provides another choice to shoppers.’
The bakery is also planning to engage with the community through a number of schemes.
Over the next few weeks, the bakery will be setting up a baking challenge for young people between the ages of 10 and 18.
Ali said: ‘We will be giving young people the chance to become true budding bakers.
‘Six youngsters will get the chance to bake something with us over the next few months, with awards and prizes later this year.
‘It is important for us to engage with the community – that is why we’re here.’
Ali says that Hampshire has become a focal point for the firm, with plans to expand across the county.
He said: ‘We have seen a lot of success down here – people seem to really love their pasties, so hopefully things will take off here in Gosport.’
Store manager Amanda House was previously in charge at the Waterlooville bakery.
She says the staff have been looking forward to getting started.
Amanda said: ‘We have a great team working here and everyone has been really excited about finally opening.
‘There has been a real buzz in here and everyone seems to be happy with how it has all turned out.
‘It really does look lovely in here and we hope the customers will like it too.
‘I’m really glad that I have been able to bring some knowledge over from the Waterlooville store – it has helped us to get everything set up and ready.’