Highgate bread war: Gail’s Bakery to move into shop next door to Le Pain Quotidien
Chain bakeries go head-to-head opposite The Highgate Pantry
08 December, 2016 — By Dan Carrier
Gail’s is due to move into the old Corner Shop, right next doot to Le Pain Quotidien
THE oven gloves have come off in Highgate Village after it emerged artisan bakers Gail’s are set to move into the high street – right next door to rival chain Le Pain Quotidien.
The New Journal can reveal that Gail’s will be moving into a store that was previously home to The Corner Shop, a supermarket and deli run for 35 years by the Karajani family.
They closed in February, citing rent rises and leaving residents fearful that the site would become another estate agent.
But while the village has seen an influx of property agencies moving in over recent years, it is now facing a proliferation of bakers, as Gail’s will also be competing for trade with a long-standing, independent bakery directly opposite.
Joanna Kadziak who has run The Highgate Pantry for the last 11 years, selling fresh bread and home-made cakes, said she hoped customers would stay loyal when the chain moved in.
“I fell in love with the village from day one,” she said. “I love our beautiful bay window we use to display our cakes, and the view out behind on to Pond Square. It is a truly lovely place with lovely people. I do not think there is room for three bakeries on one corner. It does feel crazy. I am pleased the shop isn’t being left as ugly and empty, but in terms of my business, perhaps even an estate agent would have been better.”
Ms Kadziak said that it was important for local authorities to help shape planning laws to get the balance of shops on high streets right, but conceded there was little that could be done.
She added: “We are very small – but we not afraid of the competition. It gives me a buzz – but it will be a real challenge.”
Joanna Kadziak at the Highgate Pantry directly opposite
Gail’s was founded in Hampstead in 2005 and now has a portfolio of bakeries across London and beyond.
Marketing director Romy Miller said the rise of the artisan baker coming back to our high streets could be called “the Great British Bake Off effect”, after the hit BBC cake-making TV show.
She added: “Great bread and the love of baking is on the up. It is really exciting that there is such a taste for it, and demand for good bread today.”
As for moving into the directly adjacent shop to Le Pain Quotidien, Ms Miller added: “We offer something different from Pain. They are excellent at what they do but ours is, of course, a different product.”
No one from Le Pain Quotidien, which opened in the former Rose and Crown pub, would comment directly on their new next door neighbours, but in a statement they said: “We want to create meaningful connections, in a friendly atmosphere, with our guests and with our people. All of our locations have a long, wooden communal table where strangers become friends.
“Our founder Alain Coumont says: ‘I serve my guests what I want to eat.’ This philosophy influences each decision, from our ingredients and recipes to the design of our restaurants.”