First in Chain of Bakeries Launched; Taste Newest Name Has Links to Food History

Article excerpt

Byline: Jane Hall

A NEW name launches on the high street today and the people behind the venture hope they are going to be on a roll.

The first of the Nichols chain of upmarket bakery shops officially opens in Sunderland city centre this morning, with another 13 planned across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

Proclaiming to proudly keep the North East's "rich craft of baking" alive, Nichols will sell up to 40 different types of bread alongside speciality pies, pasties, confectionery and luxury desserts, with an emphasis on using local ingredients.

The brainchild of entrepreneur Greg Phillips and his business partner Andrew Cotterell, Nichols has its roots embedded in the North East's long tradition of artisan bakers in more ways than one.

Nichols' parent company, North East Bakery, recently took over a number of Milligans outlets, one of the best-known names on the region's high streets with more than 60 years of history behind its brand.

It is these stores that will be rebranded in a pounds 500,000 exercise, creating up to 20 new jobs.

But that's not the only historical bakery connection that Nichols can claim. Newburn-based North East Bakery, which started out in 2004 supplying bread to sandwich companies in the area, that year also bought two shops from Hexham-based Nichol & Laidlow, another family firm currently celebrating 80 years of supplying the people of the Tyne Valley with quality breads and confectionery.

It is those two initial high-street shops from which the chain takes its name, after customers continued to refer to them as Nichols.

Following today's official launch in Sunderland, further Nichols stores will open in Cramlington in August and Jesmond, Newcastle, in September, with the rest to follow in the next 12 months. …


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