For Plymouth Oggy Oggy franchisee Lesley Park pasties are coming home – she’s opening a new outlet close to the Barbican spot where she was born.
The appetite for the snacks shows no sign of being satisfied, with Lesley, and her co-franchisee husband Malkolm, now controlling a fourth Plymouth outlet and eyeing further expansion.
The couple have signed a six-year lease on a commercial unit in Southside Street, on the Barbican. The property was formerly a Subway takeaway and more latterly the Barbican Cocoa Rooms, but it has been empty since that business closed in 2020.
Now Mr and Mrs Park are opening it up just four months after they launched their third pasty emporium, in a former vegetable shop at Plymstock Broadway.
And the couple, who already operate the Oggy Oggy outlets in the city centre’s Armada Way and in Plympton, are already making plans to create a branch in Ivybridge.
But first the paint has to dry at the new Barbican outlet, which like Plymstock will be takeaway only, and Mrs Park said: “It’s a great location, and I was also born near there. I have family roots in the area and I’m really excited to be back to them. You could say pasties are coming home.”
She said the venture will sell the popular range of Oggy Oggy pasties, of course, but with more on offer too.
“We are doing breakfasts, cakes, paninis, jacket potatoes, baguettes, salads and hot drinks,” Mrs Park said. “We will open from 8am to 5pm but also in the evening when there are events on the Barbican.”
Mr and Mrs Park’s Oggy Oggy outlets, part of a franchised chain of about 20 around the South West, “pivoted” in 2020 to cope with Covid restrictions.
They have been working with Deliveroo, Just Eats and Uber Eats, and supply phone orders and carry out deliveries of frozen pasties, sausage rolls and cakes to people at their homes.
But the bricks-and-mortar stores are important and Mrs Park said she has been scouting locations in Ivybridge for a potential fifth outlet.
And she is creating jobs, with three full-time and four part-time staff needed at the Barbican unit and brining the total across the four outlet to about 35 workers.
“We would like to get to the stage where we have five shops,” Mrs Park said. “Then we could employ an area manager and semi-retire, leaving someone to look after them.”
The multi-national fast-food Subway brand shut its Barbican franchise in 2018 because of “diminished trade and traffic”, as the Southside Street outlet failed to fit in with an area changing from pub-led to food oriented.
Mum-of-two Beccy Elwell then opened the Barbican Cocoa Rooms in the unit in October 2019. But when she launched the independent cake and confectionery business she had little reason to suspect prolonged roadworks, a stormy winter and then the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic would mean the business was hardly able to generate any income.
The venture suffered its first setback when the Barbican was subject to major roadworks, including a six-week closure, as part of a £2million revamp ahead of planned Mayflower 400 events, which then had to be postponed.
The business had only just weathered that disruption when the city was battered by a series of storms – including Ellen, Dennis and Jorge – in early 2020.
That caused footfall to melt away on the Barbican and in March Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the nation into lockdown. Despite bravely soldiering on, Ms Elwell had to call a meeting of creditors and appointed liquidators in August 2020.
By William Telford
Source: Business Live