Written by Alyson Jackson
January 2022 marked the start of construction at Botham's Enterprise Way, located on Whitby's business park - the site was cordoned off and the diggers rolled in as work began on the new, purpose-built bakery. This new development will see current, local production at Skinner Street bakehouse permanently move up to the new site, and be baking, within a year.
“An ambitious & exciting build but also one born out of necessity,”, says Jonathan Botham, Managing Director and great-grandson of Elizabeth Botham.
Jonathan adds, “In the 1800’s, Botham’s was built as just the shop and tea rooms frontage on Skinner Street; very similar to how you see them today. My family then started to develop behind the property to include a bakehouse where we currently make our bread and cakes. The bakery continued to evolve in stages, and, as such, the bakehouse is now on multiple levels connected by a network of stairs, ramps and an aging central lift – which is crucial to production - the opportunity to streamline production and to be all on one level will be a game-changer!”
The new build site is in the field behind the current Enterprise Way building. When complete, the new build will 'wrap around' the central bakery forecourt but it won't actually be connected to the current building. The aerial shot below gives you a good idea of the construction area and footprint of the new site. If you visit our Enterprise Way shop, you will pass by the site.
Aerial shot of Enterprise Way bakery and footprint of new build site, January 2022 (photo credit: Chris Caddy Photography)
The Botham family would like to reassure that the original premises, namely Skinner Street shop and tea room, will remain in place.
Jonathan Botham confirms that “This move is purely of necessity. Our popular Skinner Street shop and tea rooms will remain in-situ, the only change for them will be a daily delivery of fresh bakery produce by our vans in the same way that we currently supply our other four shops & tea rooms.”
Of the build, Jonathan adds, "It enables us to radically change production, advance with technology and replace vital machinery without the ‘how-on-earth-do-we-get-that-up-the-stairs!’ moments. The move will also see a reduction in large vehicle deliveries to Skinner Street which is narrow and one-way. It also helps us to improve efficiency; save both time and energy, and grow the business which helps us to keep baking into the future.”
This move has been in planning with the family for a number of years, and the family would like to stress that this move is essential.
Lois Borrett, Director and great-great granddaughter of Elizabeth Botham says: “It’s not about growing the business to be even bigger, it’s about enterprising to secure a future for the business as a whole. We are a family business for families, by lots of definitions: our shops and tea rooms are enjoyed by families near and far; our mail order hampers are delivered to friends & families nationwide and the pandemic reminded us about how important these deliveries can be with so many of our Care Packages being sent; we supply lots of other local, family-run businesses and outsource work locally were possible; we employ local people and, as such, we often have times when we have several generations of one local family working for us at one time!"
So, for the next year, the family bakers will be juggling baking hats with hard hats, but luckily for them this is a familiar process. In 2000, the current generations of family bakers directed the build of Enterprise Way Bakery, which saw the wrapped goods production move out of Skinner Street bakehouse up to Enterprise Way.
Jonathan Botham, said: “We’ve never looked back after developing Enterprise Way and, like a double-edged sword, although we are grateful for the experience this has given us, we also know how much of a challenge the new build will be – I’m sure we will fuel our busy days well! And, like generations of our family before, who also faced lots of challenges along the way, we will always endeavor to keep baking.”
Keep an eye on this blog for regular updates!