Bakery's building saga nearly over

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 12:15 17/12/2013
Martin Meehan
Joseph Johnson

BAKERY RISING: Martin Meehan is close to completing the expansion of his bakery business in St Albans.

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After several years of obstacles, a Christchurch bakery is preparing to open new premises.

Kidd's Cakes and Bakery started planning to move its small shop in St Albans to bigger premises next door 10 years ago.

Several earthquakes, a new transport plan, and two building designs later, owner Martin Meehan is in the final weeks before opening.

The $3 million two-storey building, opening on January 6, will include a cafe, a shop, and a cake-decorating area on the ground floor. Bakery and production will move upstairs.

"We've spent 10 years trying to get this done," Meehan said yesterday as heavy machinery lifted a pie machine, industrial ovens, and commercial mixers upstairs.

At the end of 2010, the company had bought the land, plans were ready, and construction was about to start.

Unexpectedly, however, the council announced the intersection of Cranford St and Innes Rd would be upgraded as part of a new transport plan.

The building had to move seven metres back. With seven metres lost, the plans had to be redesigned from scratch.

The bakery would now go upstairs, which involved the construction of a $100,000 lift.

New plans doubled the price tag for the facility from $1.5m to $3m.

Meehan said they were stressful times, but the company had to keep going with the expansion.

"We're not building to make a vast profit. We've been here 27 years, we're part of the community and we want to be here for the next 27 years," he said.

The bakery's 30 staff will increase to 40 with the opening of the new building.

Despite the struggles and the delays, Meehan said he was happy with the final result. The bakery and production area were over three to four times larger than the current operation.

Meehan started making cakes in the converted garage of his family home in St Albans in 1986.

Over the years, the bakery has produced and sold 50,000 special occasion cakes, and bakes 150,000 pies every year.

Its pies have won industry awards, the most recent being the "2013 Bakels Supreme Pie Competition" gold award for the Bacon and Egg pie.

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