A fast-growing bakery has hired an industry high-flyer to boost its ambitious expansion plans.
Passionate foodie Lesley Arnot has been appointed business manager of Jones Village Bakery in Wrexham after leaving the world’s largest bakery company, Grupo Bimbo.
Her meteoric rise to the top of Britain’s food industry began when she was among the first to join Asda’s postgraduate program after completing a classical degree at Newcastle University.
From there she joined Tesco where she worked for nine years in a number of purchasing roles and was promoted to category purchasing manager before crossing the aisle to work in food production with Grupo Bimbo for seven years.
The Mexican multinational giant operates in 33 different countries and generates more than $15 billion a year worldwide.
A series of quick promotions saw her become head of UK retail, responsible for 90% of the company’s sales in Britain, where Grupo Bimbo is best known for its New York bagels.
But she said the chance to work with Jones Village Bakery was one she couldn’t pass up because of the family business’ “fantastic reputation” in the food industry.
She was also “incredibly impressed” with how they had bounced back from a devastating fire in 2019 when their flagship bakery was destroyed.
Less than two years later, the company, led by managing director Robin Jones and his brother, Christien, the project manager, had built a new state-of-the-art bakery four times the size of the one it replaced.
The 140,000 square foot complex also includes office space, a new Baking Academy to train the next generation of bakers, and a sparkling, state-of-the-art new product development kitchen – twice the size of the original versions.
Last year, Jones Village Bakery – which has three bakeries on the Wrexham industrial estate and another on the road in Minera – secured additional investment to accelerate its growth plans and create 115 more jobs.
Ms Arnot, from St Alban’s in Hertfordshire, said:
“Working with Robin and Christien and the brilliant team of people we have here is fantastic because they are very passionate about what they do and it’s very infectious. It’s a very exciting company that is growing at a phenomenal rate. The energy behind it is very appealing.
“Jones Village Bakery’s reputation is built on quality, absolute excellence, product focus and innovation through quality.
“What they have done very smartly is combine their traditional artisan baking skills and the best equipment possible to produce brilliant products in volume. It’s very top driven. They are never satisfied unless they have the best quality and they are always looking for ways to make their products even better.
“I have been very supportive of the Jones family’s vision and growth agenda and believe that we will deliver for the business while continuing our fantastic relationship with our customers and growing and developing our relationship. elsewhere in the market with several retailers and restaurant chains.
“The company is nimble and dynamic, so it can get things done very quickly and it’s great to be part of a company that wants to scale quickly and meet customer needs. It’s really refreshing to be part of it.
“It has obviously been a difficult journey since the fire, but the facilities here are absolutely amazing. The speed with which they have rebuilt the business is truly inspiring.
“They have achieved the impossible and created a world-class bakery that is at the cutting edge of our industry.
“If you look at the equipment they put in the bakery, it’s absolutely world class. The facilities here are really something to be proud of. The feedback we get from everyone who comes to visit are that they are blown away and amazed by the quality.
“I am an avid foodie and if I had to choose one food and only one food it would be bread and coming here where the bread is so fantastic is a dream job.”
Managing Director Robin Jones was delighted to welcome Lesley Arnot to the company’s leadership team.
“We are really delighted to have Lesley on board. We had a very comprehensive selection program and a wide range of exceptionally talented candidates in which Lesley shone as a rising star in the food industry, so we are very lucky to see her.
“She has embraced the quality philosophy of Jones Village Bakery and will no doubt help drive our ambitious growth plans.
“Lesley comes from the biggest bakery in the world and she will help us take it to the next level and we are very excited about what we will achieve together.
“It will also be great news for the local economy, as our success will bring more jobs and prosperity to Wrexham.”