A recipe for success, 130 years in the making
From a small high street bakery in Southampton to a huge manufacturing facility, we have been baking the perfect recipe for success for over 130 years. Here is our story.
They say the way to the heart is through the stomach. And when so much heart goes into making sweet treats, it makes them taste extra delicious. We’ve been putting our heart into baked goods that evoke that home-baked feeling in every sweet treat we make. Since then, the only thing that has changed has been the vast variety and amount of baked goods we’re now able to offer. And maybe a few rebrands and site moves along the way…
1890, a love for baking
Baking bread and cakes was the forte of our great grandfather, George Fowler. In 1890, he opened his first ever shop, later moving in 1911 to Queensland Bakery, on St Mary’s Road in Queensland, Southampton. With a team of Fowler’s and a horse and cart, we started to build the foundations of Queensland Bakery. Stacking the shelves with a variety of delicious sweet treats, we noticed the people of Southampton became hungry for more. Not long later, we were able to buy our first delivery van, driven by growing customer demand. And as the bakery continued to grow, so did our facilities. During the 1960’s we replaced the old coal fired ovens with new gas ovens to keep up with the demand, which served the bakery well and helped the team to plough through the bread strike in 1974.
1980, the first name change
After gaining the trust of Southampton during the bread strike, ‘the Fowler’s’ became a familiar name in the city, and with that, we decided to rebrand to something in keeping with the family. The Fowler’s Family Bakery was created. This rebrand entailed the refurbishment of the shop front for the first time in ninety years. And in doing so, the Fowler’s Family Bakery became Southampton’s finest local bakery. As our baked goods became a household essential for many Sotonians, we started stocking the shelves of their bread and sweet treats into many wholesalers, helping to spread the Fowler’s Family Bakery further afield.
1995, Marybake was born
15 years later and the Fowler’s Family Bakery was growing massively. But sadly, as local high street bakers became a more forgotten establishment, our focus turned from selling on the high street to only selling into wholesalers. This refocus naturally led the bakery down a more corporate route than before. As a result, we strayed away from the family name and merged our location, St Mary’s, with what we love most, baking, to create what’s now a familiar name for some, Marybake. With this, came the decision to switch from being an all-round bakery to a dedicated sweet treats bakery, we shut our ovens for the last time on St Mary’s Road in October, 1995. Whilst it meant we could no longer continue the retail business, this was a great opportunity for Marybake’s growth within the wholesale sector.
Around three years later, we were able to relocate for the first time from a high street bakery to a fully functioning factory. This move was pivotal in our success as a larger bakery manufacturer as it allowed us to truly focus on delivering great tasting goods at scale. And as we became known in the bakery sector, we knew we needed to venture into other sectors, which resulted in another rebrand in 2009, to Fulfil UK.
2009, introducing Fulfil UK
The bakery became highly successful as Fulfil UK, and as we continued to grow, we moved factories again to much a bigger site, which meant we had the capacity to keep up with our ever-growing demand for sweet treats. And as the business continued growing, so did our brands. We developed our core brands that many know and love, including Lewis and Baker, Honest and Crave. Using these, we were able to branch out into new sectors, and once again explore the retail sector. But not as a high street bakery.
Launching our direct-to-consumer site, Lewis and Baker, we sold a variety of delicious treats from flapjack to shortbread, brownies to blondies, and created a whole new level of loyal Lewis and Baker customers. Through this, we were able to build much more demand for Fulfil UK as consumers were actively searching for Lewis and Baker treats in food to go outlets. And as we generated such a high request for treats in other sectors, this unfortunately, led to us making the tough decision to stop selling direct to consumers. As a result, we focussed solely on our main four brands, and placed ourselves amongst businesses like Gate Group, Gather & Gather and David Lloyd Leisure to name a few, for the first time ever.
2022, say hello to Queensland Bakery Co.
Fast forward to 2022, and you can probably guess what’s going to come next – we outgrew the factory. Reverting to our humble beginnings, we found ourselves utilising our very first brand, Queensland Bakery Co. But with this meant some more changes for the bakery, including focussing more on our premium brand, Lewis and Baker, core brand, Marybake, and white labelling and bespoke capabilities. With our new brand identity, came a brand-new factory. This was non-negotiable for us, as to put it simply, we ran out of space at our old factory. We were seeing huge growth and with a much bigger factory, we’re now able to continue to grow alongside our market demand and produce three times more product than we were able to at our previous site.
And whilst these physical changes have happened, there has also been lots of changes behind closed doors. Putting more focus than ever before into our white labelling and bespoke capabilities, we have now placed our creativity, insight and innovative ideas at the forefront of everything we do. The new factory blends our BRC Grade A, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities with a dedicated development kitchen team that go the extra mile to replicate existing recipes, create bespoke flavours and formats and bake seasonal cakes and trending treats. Something that we could have only dreamt about ten years ago!
Our tremendous growth has allowed us to continue excelling at what we do best. Making delicious sweet treats, with that home-baked feeling. Being a family-run bakery for over 130 years motivates us for the future, as we reminisce on our strong baking heritage and humble beginnings on St Mary’s Road.
If you’re interested in sweet treats and want to know how we can help you bake up delicious tried-and-tested or bespoke recipes, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 023 8026 9926