White’s Bakery, on Charles Street in Worsbrough Bridge, delivers cakes, bread, cookies and flapjacks to eateries in hundreds of school, colleges, universities and visitor attractions across the UK.
But when the lockdown hit, the company’s orders started to drastically drop - and their turnover dropped from an average of £3m a year to just £1m which resulted in a business loss of £132,000.
The company has since bounced back and is now on the right track after improving its production processes.
Managing director David White said: “It was a worrying time and, I admit, in those early days I thought ‘are we going to have to shut the doors and walk away?’ but the level of support that’s been given to businesses like ours has been phenomenal.
“We’ve used the furlough scheme to keep our staff on board and we’ve been helped, through Enterprising Barnsley, to use the quiet time that was forced on us to focus all our energies on transforming the business and making us better prepared for the future.
“We’ve embraced digital technology, reviewed our working practices and bought new machinery to speed up production and introduce a new product line. I’m now very optimistic about the future.”
The 86-year-old business has now returned to 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels of sales and figures are set to rise as universities return.
Through the council’s Covid recovery scheme, bosses were able to receive support and coaching to upgrade the management and production line.
The company employs 34 people at its site and has recently taken on an engineering apprentice, with a baking apprentice due to be recruited soon.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, added: “White’s Bakery is a long-established Barnsley business which is always evolving to respond to the times and we’re very pleased to have helped them through the crisis of Covid-19 to come out stronger and fitter for future.”