business

Soul Food Project plans new bakery in Harborne

Company behind The Church and Peel & Stoke bakery is eyeing run-down former shop for latest project

Harborne building where the Soul Food Project is planning to open a bakery

The Soul Food Project is planning to open a new community bakery in Harborne.

The company has identified a dilapidated former shop on the corner of High Street and Albert Road as an ideal site for the business.

Founded five years ago, the Soul Food Project currently runs The Church pub and Peel & Stone Bakery - both in the Jewellery Quarter.

The bakery supplies specialist shops and restaurants with artisan bread as well as the revamped Waterstones in High Street.

Depending on seasonal trends, it currently employs 35 to 40 people and the new business is forecast to create the equivalent of four full-time jobs.

Co-founder of the Soul Food Project Carl Finn said: "There is a long way to go in terms of the planning and licensing application before we know what we can do or when.

"The property has no shop front, no floor and no ceiling but it does have a postcode.

"Sometimes it's easier to work with a blank canvas but I've no idea of any date."

Mr Finn said the company would not seek to copy any other business in Harborne if the scheme went ahead.

"There are coffee shops, cupcake shops - we don't want to fight, we want to make sure we can co-exist. To that extent, having a community bakery is our number one plan," he said.

"We are an organic company which doesn't force things - whenever we've tried to do that it goes wrong.

"We are a people company and we enjoy working with people who are passionate.

"We are not interested in the bottom line - we launched a record label because we like music, a pub because it's a good way of having a home for our projects and the Peel & Stone bakery because we couldn't get the bread we wanted."

Soul Food Project was founded in May 2010 by Mr Finn with Matthew Beck and Alex Morrall. They later teamed up with Matt Marriott and Dom Clarke.

Its other projects have included catering at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, The Victoria in the city centre and the Secret Dining Society.

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