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Humble Bristol-based Pieminister became a ten year success

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Written by:   | Posted 30-October-2013 10:26

Most people thought they were crazy and many were convinced that a bakery specialising in gourmet pies in a run-down corner of Bristol was always bound to end in failure.

But ten years on, Pieminister has been proved right. And the firm is planning to sell even more of the famous pies to people across the country and further afield.

The company is one of the biggest business success stories in the city in recent years, and in many ways has come to represent the quirky and independent character of Bristol.

Pieminister was the first foodie firm to open for business in Stokes Croft, an area which was better known at the time for its problems with drugs, vandalism and crime.

The pie shop was created by friends and partners Jon Simon and Tristan Hogg in what had been a derelict former print shop.

Today the recently-refurbished Pieminister cafe and headquarters is surrounded by some of the city’s trendiest bars and restaurants.

The firm has branches in Amsterdam and Manchester’s fast-growing Northern Quarter. And its most recent pop-up store can be found in fashionable Camden Market in North London.

Romany Simon, wife of co-founder Jon, has been with the business from the beginning. She said: “People thought we were crazy but it made sense for us at the time. We were the first of the new businesses to move into the area but the place has completely changed. What is happening in the area is great.”

As well as there being a chain of Pieminister shops, the firm’s treats are also sold in supermarkets. And the company has become a familiar sight on the summer festival circuit.

Romany said: “We were always looking to grow the business but we are thrilled with the way things have gone and at the moment we are looking to expand even more. We are in the process of looking for more stores in different parts of the country.”

At one stage the firm, which has always been proud of its links with Bristol, was considering moving its baking operation to South Wales. But a new financing deal led to a change of heart and a major revamp of the Stokes Croft store at the start of the year. Alcohol has been included on the menu to give the place a bistro-type feel.

Romany said: “Stokes Croft was very exciting for us because we are going in a completely new direction.

“This is the first time we have done anything like this and we are incredibly excited. We have major plans for the year but what we are saying is that we are still very much a part of Bristol and we intend to stay here.

“We have come full circle – we have moved our administrative staff into the place where it all began.”

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