Shropshire Star

Husband-and-wife baker team set to expand brownie company into new high street store

A Shrewsbury husband-and-wife business team with a passion for baking are set to open their first high street shop.

Darren and Melanie Crofts

Darren and Melanie Crofts have managed The Gourmet Brownie Company for four years and have enjoyed great success with their sweet treats, attending seasonal and artisan markets as well as food and music festivals.

Now the pair are gearing up to open a store in Drayton Road, Shawbury, later this month, with the date yet to be confirmed.

"We are really excited about the new project and it's pretty much all systems go," Darren said.

"We will carry on with the events side of things as we have made it a success and still like those.

"We both enjoy the element of getting out and about and travelling to all areas of the country.

"But we thought now was the right time to move into high street premises so that we have an ongoing business rather than just a seasonal one.

"We will keep the branding of The Gourmet Brownie Company as we are known as that and have a following of loyal customers."

The duo have stands at a host of events

"We have made it a success but we plan to expand and create a much larger range of products.

"We produce more than 80 different variety of brownies and blondies now, half of which are gluten-free, but we want to add more sweet treats – flapjacks and cupcakes – and all sorts of weird and wonderful goodies.

"We are hopeful the move will be the success we are dreaming of. We are getting a lot of enquiries and people in Shawbury seem excited which is great."

The pair's growing business was born out of past challenges including redundancy.

Mel used to run a te room called Victorious Sponge in Wem where she developed her baking skills.

However, she eventually closed it and set up the new company while Darren joined her after facing the threat of losing his job while store manager of Homebase in Market Drayton.

"Mel is the creative genius who has become renowned for her bakes," said Darren.

"I decided to have a career change and join her and she has taught me how to bake.

"We love it. We have become business partners as well as life partners."