Homefarm Bakery is a family run business which was founded in 1986. It is now predominantly run by Christopher and Christina having previously been set and built up by their parents John and Julie Clare.
History of the business
From leaving school, John worked on a farm in Rotherham and Julie worked in admin at a building merchants and then moved on to Harris Accountants.
They met in Tiffany’s nightclub Wakefield aged 17 and were later married in 1983.
Following his work on the farm, John had many jobs before he secured a great opportunity as an Assistant Manager with Richmond’s, the Butchers, in the Riding Centre in Wakefield. At the time, Julie worked as a Shop Manager for Fosters Bakery.
In 1986, Julie fell pregnant with their first child, Christopher, and gave birth to him later that year. Whilst carrying Christopher, John saw a shop for sale in the next village, Lundwood. They went on to buy this and this was where the business began trading as J & J Clare Butchers.
Initially, John ran the shop as a butchers and as Christopher got older, Julie joined him. She would take Christopher to work with her and later drop him off at her Mum’s. This continued for three years until Christopher started nursery. At this point, Julie fell pregnant with her second child but then working life slowly started to get more difficult.
In late 1989, John was approached by a lady who ran the bakery in the village and within a short time, the couple bought the bakery. Julie gave birth to her second child, Christina, in May 1990 and in order to fund the bakery, they had to sell their family home at the time. The family therefore moved to live in the flat above the shop, in one room with a three month old and three and a half year old toddler. This was far from easy but they persevered and soon sold the butchers making the bakery a butchers and bakery combined. This was when the company changed to J & J Clare Butchers and Bakery.
Luckily, they had a lot of help from family members. Julie’s mum, Jean, would look after the children whilst John’s mum, Dorothy, helped in the shop and did some of the baking.
Soon after, John learnt how to bake and this was when the bakery started to take off. He would work through the night and once the children were in bed, Julie would join him listening for children on the monitors. Julie would also make any orders for celebration cakes.
Family were really helpful during this time and everyone chipped in to help as much as they could. In addition to help from both Mum’s, Julie’s sister would call after her night shift at Asda to finish the bread and John’s brother and Dad helped with any machinery and repairs. It really was a team effort.
The business grew and grew and in 2000, the pair were approached by Patrick Heaton to see whether they would be interested in leasing three shops from him. This included Royston, Hemsworth and Grimethorpe (which they later went on to buy). This was when the business moved to a limited company, Homefarm Bakery Ltd.
The company then went on to open shops in Cudworth, Newlodge, South Elmsall and Stairfoot.
In addition to the various shops, in 2008, Cafe Homefarm Ltd was opened next door to the Lundwood shop. This is run by Christopher and Christina.
To continue building the business, around 5 years ago, John decided he would start and rear his own pigs enabling them to recycle all of the excess bread from each of the shops. The pigs are reared for 12 weeks before they go to slaughter. They are then returned to the main branch where they are butchered and manufactured into own cooked meats, pork pies and sausage.
The business currently employs 50 staff who are fully appreciated for their input into the business. This includes everyone from our delivery drivers, to shop assistants and bakehouse staff. The business has a fabulous team of confectioners who have been with the company for many years and is now run by Christina’s husband Shane.
As said above, the business is mostly run by Christopher and Christina. Julie’s role is to help Christina with anything she needs but mostly to look after the grandchildren William and Arabella-Rose. John deals with the rearing of the pigs. Whilst John and Julie are on hand to help in any way necessary, they now take a back seat in the business and let Christopher and Christina run the business.