‘Cooplands jobs are now safe’ says boss

Cooplands former Wharf Road  heaquarters in Doncaster.
Cooplands former Wharf Road heaquarters in Doncaster.

Bosses are optimistic they can turn around one of Doncaster’s best known businesses after a wave of job losses.

Managers at Cooplands believe the remaining 200 staff at the chain of bakery stores are secure after around 40 staff lost their jobs last month.

But now the firm’s managing director, David Wetz, believes the business is in a stronger position to move forward. He says remaining jobs are now secure.

The business’ former trading company has been placed into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation, after calling in a restructuring firm to turn it around.

Mr Wetz said there would be a creditors’ meeting on November 13. Debts will be handled by restructuring firm Opus.

He said: “It is still a struggling business, but it is now much healthier than it was.

“We are hardworking and tenacious and have a workforce who want to see Cooplands as a successful household business in South Yorkshire.

“Cooplands is an old business which was famous for quality and value since 1932.

“It had the unique selling point of manufacturing its own products and great value. We have discussed the idea of producing and manufacturing again, and if we want to make that a strategy we have a lot of hard work to do.

“We are setting up partnerships with people who are as passionate about food and quality as we are, and we want to get back to quality in our shops.”

He admitted staff had not been paid last month, but said that was due to a technical issue with the bank, and the funds had been available.

But one former supplier is concerned over £18,000 Cooplands owes to his firm.

Philip Hartley, boss of Hughes Bakery, said the firm was taking legal action over the money through the county court.

He said: “We have not even been sure who owns the business.

“We are very unhappy about the position we’re in. We should have been paid.”

In February Cooplands looked set to close for good when it went into administration. The firm was saved at the 11th hour when administrators Deloitte announced it would be able to continue trading.

It down-sized, closing 39 stores and making 303 people redundant, leaving around 41 branches. The firm, now trading under the name Alison Holdings Ltd, also sold the 5.5 acre head office and bakery site in Wheatley Hills.