A NEW bakery will open this weekend, marking a significant milestone for a Cumbrian businesswoman.

Gina Goulding, from Whitehaven, started her business Bakes by Gina in 2021, running it from home.

She said she mainly sold brownie boxes that people could collect, and she was soon selling out.

Flash forward to 2023, she attended her first food market in Whitehaven town centre, organised by The Entrepreneur’s Group (TEG), where she sold out on her first day.

She attended a few more and later had her first wholesale enquiry to stock Hartley’s, a café in St Bees.

Now, she employs eight people for the wholesale supply line, and will be working from a commercial premises this weekend (June 15) at Unit C4, Haig Pit, Kells.

Current wholesale customers are numerous now, and include Thornhill Post Office in Egremont, the Pelican garage in Whitehaven, Spuds and Co in Egremont, The Garden in Workington, and Rest and Play in Cleator Moor, among others.

At the unit, they’ll be working throughout the week, but will open to the public on weekends, selling cakes, and will soon be able to offer coffee and outside seating.

Gina said all this was achieved while working full time at William King Construction, a Cleator Moor-based firm, which has been supportive of her business journey.

Further support from Mitie in their ‘business boost’ saw her win £10,000, and she said a contract has recently been secured to send thousands of slices of individually wrapped cake to Sellafield weekly.

Gina at Caterite's 2024 Food and Drink Show at Keswick's Pencil MuseumGina at Caterite's 2024 Food and Drink Show at Keswick's Pencil Museum (Gina Goulding)

“It’s absolutely insane," she said.

“Looking back, I’ve been really fortunate.

“Cumberland Council funded a mentoring programme for me through Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

“Quite early on, I was able to to take advantage of this mentoring.

“One of the key pieces of advice was that you can’t lead your business from the kitchen, so taking a step back and employing my friends to work there gave me quite an advantage.

“Even now, having my team in place where there is a hierarchy, our current recruits can work their way up, so as I’m running the business I’m upskilling the workforce.”

To learn more about the business, visit her website at bakesbygina.com.