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The Orange Bakery, Watlington

A great example of a powerful little footfall driver

by Tracey Pollard


"made with love, passion and pride, it is simply the best bread I’ve ever had"

We often travel across the world looking for retail inspiration and ways to help our clients drive footfall. However, sometimes we find it right on our doorstep. Just 3 miles from my home, in the tiny Oxfordshire village of Watlington is The Orange Bakery. Opened 2 months ago by a father and 15 year old daughter team it is a true example of a “footfall driver” despite being a “pop up” of just a couple of hundred square feet.  Their bakery has grown from an activity to keep young baker Kitty Tait occupied whilst she was off school ill, to a business which supplies local restaurants and pubs, to opening up her own pop up.

Their goal is simple, for people to enjoy authentic & genuine bread, which has just four ingredients: flour, salt, water and yeast. I have no idea what they do to these 4 ingredients to make them taste so very good but it’s definitely made with love, passion and pride, because it is simply the best bread I’ve ever had.

The range is small but consistent in quality and includes sourdough, focaccia (made with authentic Italian olive oil, rosemary from their garden and Cornish sea salt), cheese straws and a range of delicious pastries.  At the moment the range is small and only available Wednesday to Saturday 10.30 – 1 pm and when they run out they shut.  Despite, or maybe because of the uncertainty of supply, at 10.30am it is not uncommon to see a queue of people outside the shop.  I often find that after queuing to get in and anticipating what goodies are left, I then go totally mad and buy twice as much as I intended to, just because I was lucky enough to get into the shop! However, it’s never wasted and we always seem to eat it.  In fact, very often it doesn’t even get home, as my daughter eats the warm crusts as we walk back to the car.

Whilst I’ve not spoken to the other shopkeepers of Watlington, the new regular footfall attracted to the village by the quality of the bakery must be benefitting the rest of the retailers.  Local foodies are already drawn to the excellent Calnan Brothers Butchers and the charming Granary Deli and Café, so I do not doubt there has been some knock on benefit.

I guess it just goes to show that a footfall driver need not be a big national chain, or have an expensive shop fit.  Sometimes it can be a small local bakery run by a 15 year old girl.

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