“WE’RE KEEN TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. WE’RE FROM WIGAN AND IT’S IMPORTANT TO US TO SUPPORT THE PEOPLE HERE, TOO. WE’RE INVOLVED WITH THE COMMUNITY CAFÉ FUR CLEMT, WHICH INTERCEPTS FOOD GOING TO WASTE AND USES IT TO PROVIDE MEALS.”
If you’ve been into Wigan town centre over the last year you may have seen Stonebakers, Matt Bretherton and David Johnson who sell their artisan pizza from a trailer.
It has been a busy year for the business partners who met watching their children play rugby. It was chatting on the touchline that led them both to change their careers and set up a new business in street food.
Matt explains: “We’ve known each other for nearly seven years. We always used to chat at the rugby and one day at the end of the season, David invited us all back to his for pizza.
“I was expecting him to order a takeaway but he had a wood fire oven in his garden and made us all great pizza.
“I’ve always been interested in catering, so we got talking and we had a lightbulb moment. Within a matter of weeks we’d bought another wood fire oven and put it on trailer.”
“WE REALISED WE NEEDED TO MAKE THE LEAP.”
At first they kept the business to weekends only, catering at weddings and markets and building up their profile through Facebook, word of mouth and events.
Matt worked for Barclays Bank and David was in construction so they carried on with their regular work Monday to Friday, for the first four years.
“It was a very busy time,” says Matt. “We’d be doing a wedding on a Saturday and a market on a Sunday and then back into work on Monday.
“It then got to a point where we were turning opportunities down, because of our jobs and that’s when we realised we needed to make the leap.”
For the past 12 months Stonebakers has been touring the North West of England catering for weddings, parties, corporate events and selling pizza at markets and in town centres, from their trailer and gazebo.
They also support local charities offering parties to Wigan and Leigh Hospice, and Alder Hey Hospital and have done events with schools where they teach children how to make pizza as well as talking about careers.
“We’re keen to give back to the community. We’re from Wigan and it’s important to us to support the people here too. We’re involved with the community café Fur Clemt, which intercepts food going to waste and uses it to provide meals. It’s part of the Real Junk Food Project. We also donate any left over food or dough to them too.”
Wigan Council and the Business Growth Hub are supporting Stonebakers.
Matt added: “They’ve been great. I’ve just completed a couple of courses on making sure we’re digitally aware, which has been really useful. The council has allowed us to trade in the town centre, which helps us promote what we do and we’re always open to networking opportunities.
“We’re from Wigan and it’s a great location for us to get around quickly. We’re close to Manchester and Liverpool and one day we may even open permanent premises here.
“For now, we’ve just invested in a state of the art van and we’re looking forward to a busy year ahead.”