Family baking at its best
An Exeter-based family retail business is still going strong in the city (and beyond), Shauls Bakery has been a family favourite for more than 50 years. We speak to Director Tim Charlton about life at the heart of Devon’s bakery industry.
Shauls Bakery was started by baker Terrance Charlton who opened his first shop in South Lawn Terrace, Exeter, in 1961. That bakery has since moved and is now a block of flats (fittingly named Shauls House) but since that original bakery, the business has grown to operate 14 shops and employ 160 staff throughout south and east Devon and Somerset, making the popular bakery a regular stop for shoppers from Torquay to Bridgwater.
Founder Terrance Charlton is now company chairman and his four children help to run the business, including managing director Martyn Charlton and director Tim Charlton.
“Our Devon heritage and the fact that we’re a strong family business is very important to us,” said director Tim Charlton.
“It’s part of who we are as a company and to have a business that’s still run by the family that started it is quite rare these days.”
Even though times have changed since those first days in South Lawn Terrace, the bakery still proudly produces pasties to the original recipe from 1961, which are freshly baked in-store each day. These tasty treats remain a bestseller, despite numerous other product innovations that have been developed over the years.
“Our pasties are our most popular product, which is testament to the care with which they were originally created and our commitment to quality,” added Tim. “We are always seeking to produce new products for our customers to enjoy but at the end of the day, our figures show that you can’t beat a good pasty!”
Simpkins Edwards has been working with Shauls for over 20 years and provides practical advice and support services across a number of areas of the business 13 including auditing, business planning, tax planning and accounts, all handled by a team led by Partner Jon Williams. However, with the upcoming introductions of RTI (see page 5) and the opt-out pension system, it is the payroll services that are proving particularly useful at the moment.
“Managing payroll for 160 employees can be time consuming, which is why we use Simpkins Edwards’ service,” said Tim. “We don’t have to worry about any new legislation that comes into effect because we know they have the knowledge and experience to ensure we’re compliant at all times. Not only does it save us huge amounts of time and hassle, we know that Simpkins Edwards has the software systems in place to ensure that everything is backed up and our records are meticulously maintained. They even make sure we have the right numbers of payslips and envelopes, which is one more thing we don’t have to think about! All of this means we can concentrate on what we do best, which is baking our products and running our bakeries.”
Speaking of the bakeries, one of Shauls’s shops in Sidwell Street, Exeter, has recently undergone a facelift with fresh new branding to brighten up its image and improve the shopping experience for customers. This is a sign of things to come, with plans afoot to roll the new retail concept out to the other 13 bakeries in the next couple of years.
“There’s no doubt that high street trading is tough at the moment,” concluded Tim. “However, we’re choosing to take a proactive approach to making sure our valued customers have fantastic products to buy and a pleasant experience in all our bakeries, which is why we’re continuing to invest in improving our shops. As well as the new look, we’re always looking at new products and potential new sites for bakeries – we’re definitely looking towards the future in a positive way.”
Are you struggling to find the time to manage your payroll properly, or unsure about the new RTI requirements? Call us and see how we can help.