THREE decades of filling Portsmouth’s belly with baguettes, croissants and its famous garlic chicken have been marked by a family-run business.
Andre’s, which has shops in Osborne Road and Lord Montgomery Way in Southsea, marked its 30th anniversary last week with a party for its customers and staff.
The firm started in 1988 as La Croissanterie, set up by Frenchman Jean-Marie Guedeney – the current owner’s father.
Jean-Marie, formerly of Festing Grove, Southsea, was well-known for his baguette business. He set up the shop in Osborne Road after running the burger bar in the Tricorn.
Andre Guedeney now runs the shops with his cousin Antony Aguado-Navarro.
Andre, from Southsea, said: ‘I think we have lasted so long due to our company ethos of serving good quality, fine food, fast and with a smile.
‘We have many loyal customers who have been coming to us for 30 years.
‘My Dad used to say "do what you do, and do it well, and don't have your fingers in too many pies” and that’s what we try and do here.
‘I believe what sets us apart is a passion for what we do, a love of food, and giving the customer the best.
‘There’ll always be competition, and competition is a good thing. It pushes you to come up with new ideas. You can't just copy an idea, buy a few posh cakes and open the doors. It doesn't work like that, and the customers see through it. You have to have a passion for it.’
The anniversary was marked with cake, champagne, balloons and presents, plus they held a raffle for a hamper filled with French products.
Over the years, the business had shops in Cosham, Guildhall, Chichester and Winchester.
After consolidating the business into just one shop – the business opened its second store in Lord Montgomery Way earlier this year.
Andre said they hope to expand in future.
He said: ‘Having just opened a second store near the city centre, we are keen to open more stores in the future.
‘But at the moment we want to concentrate on our menu, extending it slightly. We’ve had some great ideas recently, some supplied by our staff and some from customers. These include our ultimate steak panini and the very popular Delhi special, both of which are premium products with unique exquisite tastes.’