Business Small Business

Thursday 13 December 2018

Baking up a storm: Pastry chef left her recession-hit home city in England to start up in Westport

Thriving: Rebecca Biswell’s Becca’s Bakery is flourishing in Westport, Co Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan
Thriving: Rebecca Biswell’s Becca’s Bakery is flourishing in Westport, Co Mayo. Photo : Keith Heneghan
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Former pastry chef Rebecca Biswell ditched recession-hit Wolverhampton to build a thriving bakery in Westport, Co Mayo, where her company has increased its profit by around 15pc in the past two years.

Rebecca set up Becca's Bakery, in Peter Street and witnessed many businesses in the town succeeding, along with her own.

The businesswoman puts this success down to "being innovative and having strong community support, a good road network and strong tourism."

The businesswoman moved from Wolverhampton in the English midlands four years ago and - showed her adoration for Westport by opening up on St Patrick's Day.

Rebecca says that she hasn't looked back ever since, increasing trade each year and setting up baking and craft classes to run in tandem with her shop business. "We're operating seven days a week," said Rebecca, who first visited the town as a student.

Though she has no connection to Westport through family, Rebecca said the community had made it "easy" to become a success in business.

"We get a lot of people visiting the town for holidays, then we have hen and stag dos, the road system is very good and we have a train service from Dublin, which makes getting here easy," she said.

"But more than that, the people of Westport still really want to come into town to shop locally, to support local businesses and to socialise in town.

"Some bigger businesses that weren't local didn't survive here.

"There's just a real emphasis on shopping local and supporting business here.

"I left Wolverhampton because the town centre had been hit hard. There's no doubt there was a huge effect from online shopping too. But Westport is thriving and a lot of the businesses here are really innovative.

"We don't see the web as a bad thing, we embrace it and use it to build our businesses even more.

"And as for me, I am a bakery, so I don't feel any threat from the internet. My classes are proving really popular too. Moving here was the best thing I did to succeed."

Planning has been well utilised in the town, Rebecca believes, because the shopping area is a hub for the community.

Schools and housing are nearby and it makes sense for people to shop locally.

"Our road network is being improved more too but next year parking charges are likely to be introduced. That is a real shame but for now we are benefiting from no charges.

"I fell in love with Westport many years ago and I'm happy to say it's great to have a business here."

Irish Independent

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