One year on from opening their first bakery in Aberdeen, the team at The Bread Guy are now welcoming customers into their second premises.
The new bakery, known as The Bread Guy’s Bakery, is situated on Great Northern Road in Aberdeen and offers a variety of sweet and savoury products.
Work began on the new premises after co-owner and head baker of the business, Gary McAllister, had spotted the once derelict building on passing various times.
Gary, 29, saw its potential and was eager to introduce a new local store to the community. It officially opened its doors last week.
Inspiring the next generation
Gary was 17 when he started a six-year apprenticeship at the former family bakery, Kelly of Cults, working under some of the best talent in the north-east.
Having learned about the trade from a young age, he hopes to inspire budding bakers to get into the industry with the openings of the brand’s venues
“The Great Northern Road shop had been empty for a long time,” Gary said. “I had driven past it so many times as its bright green signage always caught my attention.
“I found it disappointing that the shop directly opposite Kittybrewster Primary School had its shutters down. A massive ‘for lease’ sign loomed over the playground. It is a very unambitious sight for the kids to see.
Our aim is to bring bakery stores back to more communities.”
“As a father of three, I want my kids to be brought up around local stores where many of us got our first jobs. This is how it was when I grew up, we had so many local bakers, butchers, fishmongers and grocers in the neighbourhood.
“But now every second shop in Aberdeen is empty. A drive down Union Street is just a wave of ‘for lease’ signs – not what you would expect to find in what is or was the oil capital of Europe.
“Of course, the pandemic also had an effect on all businesses, including my own, but it’s definitely not the root problem of our empty communities.”
Traditional and modern bakes
The Bread Guy has aimed to produce its items, such as butteries, artisan breads, pies, sausage rolls, doughnuts and home bakes, to the highest standard since its inception in May 2019. The team uses local produce as much as possible in its bakes, as well.
Gary added: “Our aim is to bring bakery stores back to more communities. Our product range is massive – we have old-time favourites such as custard slices to modern reworks like our Snickers slice. We bring new products out on a daily basis.
“The team and I source local as much as we can. All the meat in our pies comes from McWilliams, while all our dairy comes from Graham’s Family Dairy. Even some of our flour is grown in Inverurie, by Westfield Farms.”
The firm has experienced dramatic growth since starting out in its first site, which was based at the Blackhall Industrial Estate in Inverurie and is now in Torry, Aberdeen, due to the popularity of its product range.
“The Bread Guy is now in its third year of business,” Gary said. “We moved from the small site in Inverurie to a much larger site in Torry – the former premises of Aitkens Bakery – last year, where we opened our first store as the local community is a very important part of what a bakery is.
Our product range is massive – we have old-time favourites such as custard slices to modern reworks like our Snickers slice.”
“Being part of the Torry community has been a huge deal to me. I spent a lot of my young age living in Torry and also started my own family there.”
A work family
Gary went on to say: “It’s great to see the business growing as it has. The Bread Guy now employs 18 members of staff.
“Our latest recruitment is Andrew Beattie, who previously worked under Thain’s Bakery and brings with him over 30 years of experience. He shares the same values as we do, with a passion for high-quality produce.
“Our team is really close – we always joke that we are a work family. We all work to achieve the same goal.”
The head baker has employed some of his former colleagues at Kelly of Cults.
He added: “It was very hard work for a 17-year-old working from 6pm until 3am six days a week, but this is definitely where my passion for my craft began.
“After the closure of Kelly of Cults, I worked for Macphie. My mentor, Alan Leith, was also a great lover of bread making and helped me raise the bar on breads to infuse new techniques with the old.
“This is where the idea for The Bread Guy came from. He got me thinking about how high-quality hand-produced bread had disappeared from our communities and had been replaced with mass-produced ‘modern bread’.
Our team is really close – we always joke that we are a work family.”
“The skill had been removed and chemical additives substituted to replace the traditional techniques.”
Things won’t be slowing down for Gary and his team in the coming months as they already have plans in place to open a third venue, which will be based in the former Kelly of Cults building.
“The team and I have some big plans up our sleeve,” said Gary.
“To open a shop on the site of the former Kelly’s site is a massive deal to me. I was the last apprentice through the doors before its closure.
“Their dedication to their local community has always been something I admire. To now be attempting to recreate similar values is something I am very proud of.”