It is all adding up for baker Sam Oldham who during lockdown decided to try his hand at something else - baking.

And so popular are his artisan products which he sold from his pop-up garden shop, that the 30-year-old has relocated his bakery business, Hive Bakehouse, to a unit in Westhoughton, to meet demand.

Sam is a former Warburton’s executive and his bakery business caters for both the general public and businesses.

It offers a range of hand baked artisanal goods free from additives and preservatives.

Sam, who grew up in Westhoughton, founded the company in 2021 baking from his own kitchen and selling the goods from a pop-up shop in his back garden.

Sam now commits all his time to growing the Hive brand as well as working on-site in the bakery.

Sam said: “I have worked in the food industry since I was about 14, my first job was in a restaurant in Chorley and I worked there whilst I was in high school, and I have always had catering jobs.

“And then I found myself going into more corporate roles.

"At Warburtons I was an account manager and I used to work in the beef industry as an account manager as well, so food has always been there and then lockdown happened, so especially in the evenings when we all couldn’t go out, I just taught myself to bake and then it just kind of escalated and escalated.

The Bolton News: Sweet treats on saleSweet treats on sale (Image: Sam Oldham)“I bought more equipment, I bought more stuff and experimented more and eventually I started selling bread from my garden.

“I was nervous about it as it was an unusual concept but it kind of took off with a few handmade breads and pastries.

"It took about six months and more customers as well as regulars started popping up.

“It gave me the confidence to think it would work and that’s where I started.

“By 2022 I identified where things were beginning to grow and I knew we were going to run out of space, and I was keen to grow it more so that’s where the creation of the HQ came from.

“I first approached the landlord of our HQ, which was a brand-new commercial unit, and we agreed everything, but the energy crisis hit last year, and I couldn’t afford it.

"I delayed a year and then we moved in at the beginning of December and it has just grown.

“December was quite a tough month because we had a lot going on and teething issues as we opened but it was really busy, I’d say it is one of the busiest months we have ever had.

“And since it has been really good, we have had a fantastic start to the year, really strong and well received.”

The Bolton News: Cookie at Hive BakehouseCookie at Hive Bakehouse (Image: Sam Oldham)Sam said he is already looking to the future and hopes to open a café with a bakery.

He said: “The plan for the future is to continue to use this location as a bakery, my partner is soon to join the business full time as a baker and then the aim is to explore opening our own café and bakery so people can have somewhere to go and sit and enjoy our food.

“For Hive to put me in a position where I’ve said goodbye to the corporate world to pursue my desire to bake is something that fills me with determination every day.

“From here we can expand our offering, provide a dedicated site for customers to visit and really ramp up the volume we are selling to local businesses.”

Sam says that from their vanilla flans to their farmhouse loaves, it is the bakery's commitment to authentic baking that has seen them develop a large customer base in the local area and what they will carry with them as they continue to grow as a business.

People can buy products from wholesale customers including Milk Maids, Provisions and Rivington Brewing Co and more and they can also visit the bakery in Westhoughton on James Street, open Tuesday to Saturday or order online for collection.

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