GAIL’s Artisan Bakery opens in Summertown Oxford by by Tom Molnar
I always knew I’d open my own business. Since I was a young boy I witnessed my father’s dedication and perseverance to being an entrepreneur and to doing his own thing: he even mowed the school lawns when he was unemployed. However, having grown up on Cocao Beach in Florida I always thought I would own a fish farm in the States, not a bakery in England!
Gail Meja and I opened the first bakery back in Hampstead in 2005, mainly to satisfy our own cravings for a good sourdough loaf, which at the time you couldn’t get easily in London. Back then, top quality bread was only available in fine dining restaurants.
With our years of artisan, wholesale baking experience behind us, led by Gail’s expertise and passion, we decided to try and re-create the neighbourhood bakery.
Opening in Summertown is a great accomplishment for us because it’s our first bakery outside of London. We are proud to have grown enough to be able to deliver fresh ingredients from London every morning in order for us to bake for our new customers, every day.
In the ten years since we opened Hampstead, we’ve stuck to the same philosophy of natural, honest baking combined with the beauty of community relationships.
I have some friends in Summertown who introduced me to the area and I was immediately bowled over by the sense of community. Local businesses and residents have welcomed us with open arms and our neighbours, including the lovely people Vanilla and Liscious, have really helped fill us in on the local area.
Not only did I fall for the local community, but Oxford itself captivates me, with its history seeping out of the walls and beautiful architecture, green quads and the river.
Bread is the core of our GAIL’s story and we make sure it’s at the heart of our customer experience in our shops. The design of the bakery in Summertown centres on abundant displays of our loaves and the rest of our sweet and savoury goodies, so our customers can be tempted by the little creations our bakers have come up with that day. We like to let the beauty of the food speak for itself and keep the interior design simple – in the case of Summertown, we’ve used a lot of wood and green plants.
It’s always been part of our dream to open a bakery in a neighbourhood outside of London and we’re grateful that Summertown has received us so warmly, so far.