Rolling back the years

Sheldon’s was started by the Master Baker Harold Sheldon. As it grew and became successful, his son Graham Sheldon took over the reins and built the business to greater heights. Nowadays, Graham is still behind his desk, but his son and daughter, Lee Sheldon and Sarah Sheldon, have joined him to help run the business and it continues to go from strength to strength.

1924

Harold Sheldon joins the baking trade.

On leaving school, young  and began work as a baker for Horrock’s bakers in Goodier Street, Newton Heath, Manchester. Harold learned the basics of the baking trade and also worked as a van boy helping on deliveries. Never one for standing around idly, when he wasn’t baking or on the vans, Harold worked as a stable boy to the horses that used to pull the bread vans.

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1939

The Delivery Man

Harold soon progressed to become a delivery man with his own round, making door to door deliveries by horse and cart to his customers in Failsworth, Chadderton and Oldham. The horse knew the route so well, he could travel the route without Harold having to touch the reins.

The Soldier

On the outbreak of war, Harold enlisted in the Royal Signals Regiment, serving as a motorcycle dispatch rider based in Salisbury where his wife, Bertha and daughter, Audrey (Graham’s sister) moved to be near him.

1942

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Back Home

Following a nasty motorcycle accident, Harold was medically discharged from the army due to the seriousness of his injuries, and moved back to Manchester. After a lengthy recuperation, he rejoined Horrock’s in his previous job.

1949

Out on his own.

Harold left to set up his own bread and confectionary wholesaling business – using products from the numerous independent bakers he’d grown to know.

…and then there were three.

Through Harold’s drive and determination, the business grew considerably; drafting in his brother Bob and brother in law-Harry Shields to help,  Harold saw his vans travelling the winding old roads to Blackburn and Huddersfield every day.

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1954

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Focus, focus, focus.

With the business growing in all directions, the brothers decided to sell 9 of their 12 vans as going concerns, so they could concentrate on growing the core of the business and doing more of what they were best at.

1964

Baking history

The most popular product by far was the Lancashire Oven Bottom Muffin –selling like hotcakes in almost every market in their area. Harold knew a Good Thing when he saw it and went into partnership with one of his former suppliers, Arthur Leigh, who had a bakery on Ashton Old Road in Manchester – Building the whole business around the now famous Oven Bottom Muffin!

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1967

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It just keeps growing

Demand was so great that they moved to a bigger bakery on Clayton Lane, Openshaw, Manchester. Harold’s son, Graham Sheldon, joined the business as a van man to help satisfy the growing throng of customers.

1969

... and growing

Another bakery was acquired in Dukinfield.

1970

Fingers beckon

Seeing another opportunity, the business launched into production of finger rolls.

1971

Harold Sheldon takes control

Harold bought out Arthur Leigh’s share of the partnership and sold the Dukinfield bakery as a going concern.

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1973

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Ill health intervenes

Due to Harold’s failing health, Graham Sheldon bought his father out and enlisted the help of his wife, Barbara Sheldon, to run the business.

1974

Lee Sheldon is born.

With the heir apparent in his cot, Graham and Barbara bought a large plot of land from the council to build an even bigger bakery.

 

1975

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The new bakery opens.

1977

Sarah Sheldon is born.

Another child, another expansion. A new two storey extension was added to the bakery.

1984

XL Baps

Sheldon's commenced production of Extra Large Baps, for people with the heartiest of Lancashire appetites.

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1986

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You say potato ...

The company began producing Potato Cakes.

1988

Volvo estate

Graham brought the building next door - a John Wallwork Volvo Dealership - to increase production by around 70%.

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1989

More reasons ...

GH Sheldon started supplying Morrison's.

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1992

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Every little ...

and then we started supplying Tesco.

Olympic bid.

Manchester City Council announced that it was to bid to stage the Olympic Games of 2000. The Topaz Street bakery was right in the middle of the area the to be flattened to facilitate the Olympic bid. The company made plans for a move which would finally be completed in 1995.

Although the Olympic bid was unsuccessful, the site was eventually used to build the stadium for the 2002 Commonwealth Games, which is now the Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City. 

1993

Lee clocks in

Lee Sheldon commenced working at the bakery for his father. He learned every job in the place – from engineering and repairing machines to  production and buying raw materials.

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1994

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We ASDA 'ave 'em

ASDA asked us to supply four products including Oven Bottom Muffins and Potato Cakes.

1995

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Time to move again

The company moved to a purpose-built, state-of-the-art new bakery on the Stainburn Road site in Openshaw – within sight of Harold’s former premises on Clayton Lane. The new bakery was planned and designed by Graham – and he settled for nothing but the best. He invested more than £2.5 million on equipment alone – demanding the very latest technology – and his ideas were so forward-thinking that 70% of the new plant and equipment was custom built to his own design and specification. The result was one of the most modern bakery production facilities in the country.

April 1995 - New talent

Rod Ledgard started as Production Manager – bringing with him 10 years experience as Area Technical Manager at Rank Hovis Mills, where his role was troubleshooting flour and product problems in bakeries across the UK and Europe and doing new product development

With the move to the new bakery came increased production, expansion more jobs for people in the surrounding area – the company now employed around 70 staff.

Some key members of staff that helped the family with the difficulties involved in setting up and moving to new premises are still employed by the Company today e.g. Tony Lees (Engineering Manager) who started as Graham’s apprentice in 1986.

 

1998

1995 - 1998

Sarah Sheldon studied law at University of Birmingham.

2000

More Talent

Neil Fairhurst joined to boost the commercial side after many years at Rathbone’s Bakery. With over 30 years’ experience, Neil was versed in almost every aspect of the Baking Industry. He works closely with the Despatch and Distribution Teams, ensuring that our 8–strong fleet of HGVs is properly maintained and ready to make deliveries to all of our customers. He also deals with all of our suppliers’ invoices - ingredients, services, equipment – and the payroll, which makes him very popular!

2001

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Service improvements

The Company established a mobile Sales Support Team to ensure the best possible service to retailers, with particular emphasis on supply.

 

2002

Getting technical

The Company recruited its first full time Technical Manager to drive forward and improve the existing food safety systems.

2003

Premier man

Alan Stone brought 45 years of sales experience from Premier Foods (Hovis).

2004

Another outlet

The Company started supplying Aldi.

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2005

Sarah’s return

Sarah Sheldon joined the business after working in Barrister’s chambers in London and for DLA Piper and Halliwells in Manchester. Sarah’s legal background would be immensely useful in the sea of regulations that surrounded the company in the modern era. Sarah’s first main project was to find some further land and/or premises as the bakery was full to capacity.

Another extension

The company won a substantial order with one of the major retailers, which meant an expansion of  Bakery 1’s production facility, and more investment in automation and machinery.

 

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2006

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Turning to gold

G.H. Sheldon was shortlisted for the MIDAS Award for Excellence in Business Innovation by the Food Northwest Awards 2006.

A glorious summer

The Company saw huge uplifts in sales due to good summer weather and the football world cup.

The Cheese Topped Bap was introduced to the range.

 

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2007

Expanding again…

The business acquired the premises directly opposite the Stainburn Road premises (known as Bakery 2).

2007 to 2009 Bakery Makeover

The Company invested £1.5 million in a thorough overhaul of the internal shell of the building - creating a modern food-safe bakery with new state of the art machinery. 

Big wheels turning

The Company bought its first 22 tonne vehicle.

Help from the Government

Award of a Government Grant under Section 7 of the Industrial Development Act due to the significant expenditure on job creation and fixed assets.

 

 

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2008

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Keep on trucking

The Company bought its first articulated truck.

More sales expertise

Davina Thomas came to strengthen the Sales team, bringing many years of experience in Sales. 

Cleaning up

A purpose built washroom was built on the Bakery 1 site.

 

2009

More staff

The start of production in Bakery 2 opened led to the employee count reaching 150.

Continuous improvement

The business recruited Steve Borland as a Continuous Improvements Manager. Steve spent 38 years at Premier Foods prior to joining us. Steve is highly qualified and his area of expertise is managing people and systems.

Dec 2009

Improvements in training. Commenced a programme of NVQ training (available to all staff).

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2010

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More equipment

A travelling oven was purchased for Bakery 2.

November 2010

Gareth Parkinson joined as a highly-qualified Technical Manager with over 17 years experience in the baking industry. Gareth’s responsibility is to keep the company up-to-date with laws & legislation, customer requirements, product specifications and food safety. He handles all the audits and accreditation held by the company, such as BRC Accreditation, RSPO Membership, and a plethora of Customer Approvals which are renewed each year.

2011

 

 

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More customers

Started serving Coop with Oven Bottom Muffins.

More senior people

We recruited a Hygiene Manager and a CIMA Qualified Accountant, David Carroll, who boasted 28 years experience, 15 years of them in manufacturing. David is committed to driving out costs and improving efficiency.

 

2012

Sarah drives up standards

Sarah Sheldon achieved the OCR Level Three Certificate of Professional Competence for Transport Managers (Road Haulage)-National and International to ensure the Company’s compliance with transport related legislation.

 

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2013

Spring 2013

Built a purpose built washroom to the rear of Bakery 2.

Summer 2013

£400,000 was invested in another state of the art roll plant for Bakery 2, and a further £40,000 on a new spiral mixer.

Recruited an additional Engineering Manager – Shane Lainton. He’s responsible for, among other things, coordinating and managing shift engineers, optimising machine efficiencies, planning and executing our Planned Preventative Maintenance System and carrying out risk assessments to ensure the safety of his staff. His 29 years in the baking industry have brought him multiple qualifications and experience across a wide range of plant types to make everything from Muffins to Swiss rolls.

Sarah Sheldon began a Masters in HR Management.

The business now supplies Aldi, Asda, Coop, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Tesco along with other independents and retailers.

August 2013

Another £36,000 saw the purchase of a further hot dog slicing machine for Bakery 2.

Autumn 2013

Recruited Ken McIntosh (as HR Manager) from Bury College, where in his role as a National Dimploma trainer he had been working with us since 2009. Ken,  who has over 35 years experience within the food industry, has since helped over 200 Sheldon’s employees obtain their Level 1 and Level 2 National Diploma in Food Manufacturing.

James Harper (Quality and Continuous Product Improvement) joined, bringing 8 years manufacturing experience in the baking industry, specifically in technical and new product development. Among other responsibilities, James introduced and now maintains the quality system, monitors daily product quality as well as creating and monitoring correct technical documentation to meet legal and customer requirements.

September 2013

Total number of employees reaches 246

Winter 2013

£275,000 invested in two 35 tonne flour silos to be erected on the Bakery 2 site.

£400,000 invested in a further roll plant (cost) along with £60k to set up a crossing station for Hot Cross Buns.

2014

December 2014 

Christmas came early this year, with the unveiling of our new packaging. 

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