Loyalty is the recipe for success

Six members of staff at the oldest bakery in Wales have been recognised after clocking up more than 180 years between them.

Averaging more than 30 years’ service each, they received special awards from grateful bosses at the family run Gerrards bakery in Wrexham.

Earlier this year Gerrards, founded in 1838 and being run by the sixth generation of the family, was named as one of the top three bakeries in the UK.

They were finalists in the category for Craft Business of the Year at the Bakery Industry Awards.

According to Director Dawn van Rensburg, the loyal service and expertise of the staff receiving awards were essential ingredients in their recipe for continuing success.

The staff who received long service awards were bakery foreman Chris Williams, bread foreman Adrian Munkley, baker and confectioner Jeanette Williams, van driver Colin Jones, Payroll Manager Teresa McNeil and Retail Manager Gloria Davies.

Also at the ceremony was Mrs van Rensburg’s father, Philip Gerrard Jones who started working in the bakery full-time in 1958 and was in charge for more than 30 years. He and his wife, Claire, have passed on the baton to the next generation.

Mrs van Rensburg now runs the company with her husband and fellow director, Dirk van Rensburg.

Shesaid: “I’m incredibly proud of the fact we were in the final three at the Bakery Industry Awards.

“It was a huge accolade that would not have happened without the fantastic team of staff we’ve got in the bakery and out in our shops.

“Maintaining our high standards is vital to us. The economic climate isn’t wonderful but the one thing we won’t compromise is the quality of the ingredients we use and the love and attention we put into the products.

“We support local suppliers wherever we can – all of our meat is locally sourced from within 20 miles of the bakery and we also use local suppliers for all our vegetables and  our salad items.

“The long service awards are another important milestone in the history of Gerrards and in the next few years we will have other members of staff who will have been with us for 20 years.

“I think it says a lot about the business that we have so many people who have been with us for such a long time – we have people whose parents and grandparents also worked here.

“There’s a very strong sense of loyalty and family spirit within the whole business – not  just the Gerrards family but the staff’s families too.

“Every member of staff we have in the bakery and in the shops is vital to the smooth running of the business. We value their contribution.”

That loyalty is very much a two-way street as far as bread foreman Adrian Munkley is concerned.

Adrian, 48, joined Gerrards straight from school in 1979 and still loves his job – he was particularly proud the company were finalists in this year’s bakery “Oscars”.

Bakery foreman Chris Williams, 54, has worked at the bakery for more than 30 years and met his wife Jeanette, 55, there.

Jeanette, a baker and confectioner, said: “It’s been really nice, really lovely, it’s like one big family really. I have now worked for three generations of the family.

Ex-miner Colin Jones, 66. has been working as a van driver since 1989.

He said: “Mr  Gerrard Jones gave me the chance and I’ve been here ever since, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Payroll Manager Teresa McNeil, 37, followed in her mother’s footsteps when she started in 1991.

She said: “Everyone gets on so well  and they treat everybody like family, they’re really good with us”

The longest serving member of staff is Retail Manager Gloria Davies, from Buckley.

She has just celebrated 40 years working for Gerrards and at 68 she has no plans to retire.

Gloria said: “These days when everything is owned by huge companies, it’s really nice to have a family-owned business which takes a pride in what it produces.”

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