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Satterthwaites up for sale

Owner of much loved family bakery speaks of devastating decision

Written by . Published on September 11th 2012.


Satterthwaites up for sale

ONE of Merseyside's last and best loved independent bakeries is being forced to sell up. 

Satterthwaites, which has seven shops in north Liverpool, has been in the same family for 102 years. Its owner today described the decision to put the business on the market as “devastating”. 

Speaking to Liverpool Confidential, Roger Wilson said the firm, which employs 70 people, had suffered a downturn in its fortunes in the last 12 months owing to the double blow of aggressive marketing by big supermarket chains and the new mood of austerity.

It had survived in that time owing to an injection of private capital and in natural wastage of staff.  The moves had brought a temporary light to the end of the tunnel, he said, but since the start of 2012 things had taken a turn for the worse. 

“There have been difficulties on the high street in general and we haven't been immune to that,” said Mr Wilson. “Footfall dropped dramatically last year and we took measures to shore the business up.

"For a time we thought everything would be all right. But since the start of 2012 people have become scared of spending. They are saving up. We can't lose any more people and we can't put in any more money.” 

Satterthwaites Pies

Satterthwaites, opened its first shop in King Street, Southport, in 1910 before moving to Crosby and opening a bakery in Coronation Road. It also has branches in Waterloo, Maghull and Bootle.

Mr Wilson, 71, added: "I've been advised that I must sell or restructure because of declining footfall. I'm too old to meet these challenges.

"I am devastated."

The baker took to twitter to announce the company's quest for a new buyer, believing "uncertainty for staff is destructive. The temptation is to keep quiet about these things, but you risk leaving it too late until nothing can be done."

Shocked

Crucially, he said, new vision was needed. "If you know a baking entrepreneur who can uphold our standards, NOW would be a good time to call them," he declared.

The news prompted a flurry of shocked responses from the tweet-sphere with one saying: "@Satterthwaites is not for sale? that really is beyond the pale ... a local landmark, childhood friend ... Satterthwaites, it's not the end?"

Unlike, for example, Greggs - which arguably has survived the downturn by restricting itself to a more limited range of products that it produces by a more economically efficient mechanical process - Satterthwaites has long placed itself in the category of artisan bakery. This is an area growing in popularity in the more affluent south of England, yet while similar products sell for the same price in supermarkets here, Satterthwaites has perhaps been guilty of hiding its considerable lights under a bushel.

Its delicious range of pies, pasties and cakes come from recipes handed down over generations and have altered little. 

"My grandfather told me he would come back and haunt me if I changed the pork pie recipe," said Mr Wilson.

"Doing the right thing is simple." he added. "Don't change it, get it right and keep it right."

While that might work for sausage rolls, Mr Wilson would be the first to admit it doesn't necessarily apply to the ever changing challenges faced by independent businesses.

He insisted: "Satterthwaites still has plenty of potential and there is a whole new market that it hasn't reached. I am looking for someone who can drive it forward with new ideas, entrepreneurial flair and above all care."

Got some serious dough? Call them on 0151 286 9690.

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25 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Sandie DuffySeptember 11th 2012.

Gutted, wish I had the cash. Best meat pies in the world

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2012.

The baker, the butcher the candlestick makers, gone or going to make way for bland, boring multiples.

These small shops are the real 'anchors' of the high streets and should be preserved and helped during tough times.

However I can't blame Tesco, Aldi, etc. We vote with our feet and our wallets and purses. If we don't use these lovely local shops they will disappear. We, the customers, have let down these businesses, so perhaps we deserve a future of shopping in ugly characterless warehouses, buying ugly characterless foodstuffs.

Carla JonesSeptember 11th 2012.

This is so sad! Please don't let it happen. Everybody needs pies and these are the best in the world!!

John LewisSeptember 11th 2012.

in a similar vein, Last Shop Standing is out later this week. Imagine a world with no record shops. http://www.lastshopstanding.com/

Peter HarveySeptember 11th 2012.

A great opportunity awaits someone with vision and drive. Such a loyal, appreciative customer base too. Satterthwaites - a legend in its own lunchtime!

Staff
Angie SammonsSeptember 11th 2012.

Farmers markets, food and drink fests and Satterthwaites hot pie ovens on counters in every pub on Merseyside. There, now give me the dosh and I'll do it myself

1 Response: Reply To This...
Darth FormbyOctober 5th 2012.

I'll deliver the pies for you if you like..well, at least the one I don't eat.

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2012.

Can he/they be an honary member of The HopeSt Feast this weekend??

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialSeptember 11th 2012.

We'll ask...

TerrySeptember 11th 2012.

The loss of such an established and well respected bakery is truly sad, I can only hope the banks support a suitable investor who will take the business forward. There is so little to compete with junk food suppliers on the high street and I sincerely hope that this business can be saved.

Paul WardSeptember 11th 2012.

Good pies, not great, and the surliest staff in the country. Try for a welcome in Crosby if you're under fifty!

Paul PaulsSeptember 11th 2012.

Greggs wins the sausage rolls but for a pork pie, Satties is pretty unbeatable. The thought of their steak pies is making me drool at the mouth. I feel a moment coming on

T CakeSeptember 11th 2012.

They do an awesome lemon drizzle cake. Sadly, people seem to be more attracted to "cupcakes" made by frustrated dental assistants and the like

Andy MeliaSeptember 11th 2012.

My God, best pork pies in the world and Bavarian Slices better than sex. It's all Thatcher's fault.

BurnsySeptember 11th 2012.

I now have an overwhelming desire for a Satty's pork pie, and they are closed. Give Greggs a miss and save the pies!

Jelly CreamSeptember 11th 2012.

They've outlasted chains like Cousins, Cubbons, Shaw's County Bakeshops and Sayers has closed lots of shops.

What I want to know is where this 'Greggs' came from. they were unheard-of ten years ago!

Kiron ReidSeptember 14th 2012.

Satterthwaites is an excellent bakers, a really good example of Northern quality unlike the big chains. I always buy a pie or pasty of their's from the village shop in Hightown when I call home.

Hazel GeeSeptember 14th 2012.

My late dad Bill Billington (Snowy to all the bakehouse) kept Satts going in the war years, on fire watch at night on the shore in the Home Guard and then up early to work in the bakehouse. At Easter he used to come home smelling of spices from baking the hot cross buns. I think that he would be sad to hear of the news but it is a changing world, not always for the better. The recommendations and testimony to Satts on here say it all. You can buy cheaper but in my view you will not buy better than Satt's pies. Maybe Crosby and district and in fact pie lovers everywhere should start an SOS campaign (Save Our Satts)!

Good wishes to Roger and all at Satts.

AnonymousSeptember 16th 2012.

I have to say, to Paul..Greggs sausage rolls come to nowhere near the standard of Satterthwaites. It's basically the same content as the pork pie, but not as compact. Clarke's on Allerton Road is my second best sausage roll. A touch too much suet though.

In general Satterthwaites cant be beat!

T CakeSeptember 16th 2012.

How do you do that thing where your picture appears, like Kiron Reid's?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Kiron ReidSeptember 17th 2012.

Hi T Cake, I don't know but I think it's because I started a blog page recently & this page seems to automatically link the pic uploaded for that. The site is a WordPress one but the pic uploaded via a site called Gravatar http://en.gravatar.com/site/wpcom/

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2012.

how about the staff that have not been told yet what is happening/ yet his house is up for sale and mr wilson has already gone to his house down south that he had build wounder how. I think the staff that has serve him so long through thick and thin should be told by him and not given a piece of paper saying that they May be forced to close no date on it.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mike HomfrayOctober 11th 2012.

Roger Wilson returned to Crosby from his home in Godalming, where he worked as a lecturer at Guildford University, in order to run Satterthwaites, his family's business. He has now finally retired back to Surrey. I know that he made every effort to look for a viable future for the company and still hopes that closure can be avoided. Or do you expect him to work full time forever?

Darth FormbyOctober 5th 2012.

I feel genuinely sorry for the staff at Satterthwaites. I have made a point of calling in to their shops for years ...it's the law to stop for a pie if there's an empty parking space at that end of South Road, for instance. Stepping into a Satterthwaites shop is a bit like stepping back in time for me, in a very good cosy, warm kind of way. I still see faces in their shops that I can remember from the eighties. It will be like waking up in the year 2027 for some of these people if they close down.

AnonymousOctober 13th 2012.

The staff should get together and keep it going,I live in the USA now but let me tell you every time I get back to England Satterthwaites is my first stop.....nothing compares.

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