If you haven’t tasted the delicious treats from Uncle John’s Bakery yet, you are missing out. Celebrating 25 years in business this year, the well-loved bakery is the UK’s only specialist Ghanaian bakery selling baked goods and snacks all made from passed down Ghanaian family recipes.
“Ah, yes! Uncle John’s Bakery” exclaimed my husband when I opened the delivery box and started pulling out the baked goods with distinctive yellow packaging. He fondly remembered Uncle John’s Bakery as the first and only specialty African bread available, long before others came on the scene.
Starting all the way back in 1995 by John Mensah and his wife Emelia Mensah, Uncle John wanted to share his mum’s, Nana Mary’s sweet bread recipe with the wider Afro- Caribbean community in London. Twenty-five years later and Uncle John has built a lasting business which prides itself on being the UK’s only specialist Ghanaian bakery selling a range of breads, doughnuts, cakes, pies and savoury snacks all made from passed down Ghanaian family recipes.
It was a pleasure when my family recently refamiliarised ourselves with Uncle John’s goods including the Sweet Bread, their signature and, undoubtedly, best-selling product.
However, in recent years, John and Emelia have taken a step back from frontline operations. The business is now primarily run by second-generation members of the family – with their son, Sam Mensah stepping up as CEO. We love to see that family business legacy!
Sam has brought a number of new innovations to the business, improving the business’s digital presence, from its website to how they engage with their customers. He was a finalist in last year’s Black British Business Awards.
In a recent interview, he told Ad’s Diaspora why he stepped up: “When my parents and other African and Caribbean people came over in the 80s (and even before then), some had their own businesses, but their children born here, didn’t seem to want to carry it on. I was the same, but it got to a point when I realised that legacy is important, so I sacrificed what I was doing and jumped in to help my parents and then became director.”
“…it got to a point when I realised that legacy is important, so I sacrificed what I was doing and jumped in to help my parents and then became director.”
No doubt mindful of the legacy resting on his shoulders, he is sensibly steering the business with caution and prudence, yet the growth continues. He said: “We’re in selected Morrisons supermarkets across the UK, have a partnership with Deliveroo and a third-party distributor who takes our products to North England, Scotland and Western Europe. We want to expand further but we need to be ready and not just jump into things. That could be damaging in the long run.”
From the beginning, community spirit has been at the heart of the business and during the current Covid-19 pandemic they have shown their support of the NHS by charitably offering a free loaf to NHS workers.
Aside from a few days at the beginning of the pandemic, the bakery has remained open, continuing to operate as usual, albeit with social distancing measures and reduced hours.
With quality, professionalism and excellent customer service, it’s no surprise to hear that the business continues to grow. Uncle John’s is very much a bakery for everyone whose products are guaranteed to be enjoyed by anyone who tries them.
Place your order via the Uncle John’s Bakery website.