Porirua bakery rises to business success

Last updated 17:30 23/11/2012

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''I always thought food was a good business to get into because people always need to eat.''

A simple yet successful philosophy for Brumby's owner Richard Cook, whose Porirua bakery kneaded and rolled its way to distinction at the Porirua Business Awards, claiming the supreme accolade.

Richard and wife Allison's franchise, based at the MegaCentre, took out the retail category before also winning the top honour at an awards ceremony at Te Rauparaha Arena on Thursday night.

The Cooks opened the bakery 12 years ago in the early stages of  the 'big block' retail development.

Originally from Wanganui, they had both worked at Trust Bank. Wanting their own business, they chose a franchise, believing it would provide more support than going at it alone.

From a two-and-a-half month training course, Mr Cook said they learned what most apprentice bakers would learn in three years, as well learning how to run a business.

The parent company took some convincing Porirua would be suited for Brumby's, but the customers did not. Set up next to The Warehouse to benefit from the foot traffic, the bakery soon became a destination shop in itself, said Mr Cook.

''The fundamental difference between us and other bakeries is that we use a scratch baking method of baking bread. We start with raw ingredients, we don't use pre-mixes.''

Brumby's had been nominated for business awards in 2009 and 2011. Winning two this year, including the big one, surpassed all expectations, he said. 

''We're extremely honoured. It caps off a great year for us after being named franchise of the year in New Zealand for Brumby's,'' said Mr Cook on the night, when receiving the retail prize. Later, when receiving the Supreme Award, he and Allison said they were humbled and thanked their staff and customers.

Over the last 12 years Brumby's in Porirua has donated a million dollars' worth of food to community groups, food banks and school breakfast programmes, and the bakery has a philosophy providing opportunities to the unemployed, said Mr Cook.

The Westpac Porirua Business Awards is hosted annually by the Porirua Chamber of Commerce. Applications were submitted from throughout the business community before a rigorous judging process, said the Chamber's executive director Holly Thompson.

''I can tell you Brumby's impressed the judges from start to finish.''

At the awards, Chamber chairman Don Casagranda said it had been remarkable year for the organisation. It had staged its second Mayoral Expo, moved its head quarters to the CBD, and grown its membership to about 300.

He said it was important to celebrate and acknowledge Porirua's business community, whose contribution couldn't be underestimated; a city of 4000 businesses, 16,0000 employees, contributing $1.2 billion towards the nation's GDP each year.


* Supreme - Brumby's

* Business Personality - Chris Kirk-Burnnand

* Young Employee - KaiJia Shum, Porirua City Council

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* Retail - Brumby's

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