This Saturday (2nd December) sees Graces Bakery turn a whopping 20 years old! Originally opened back in December 1997 when Ray and his wife Carole opened the first of five shops in Ryde, in what was an old flour-mill. Times have changed and they have gone from strength to strength but the same ethos and love of baking remains at it’s heart. Read our interview with Ray from a couple of years ago which details the rise of Grace’s Bakery – made in Ryde, enjoyed Island-wide…
Ray Redrup, owner of Grace’s Bakery, is a true family man shown in his ethos for the business. As the business, which Ray and Carole founded upon returning to the island in 1997, has grown, their family – sons Daniel and David have taken on more responsibility in the day to day running, with Ray’s brothers Derek and Mark involved in the daily production of bread and cakes. Daughters Jodie and Sarah, also help out when not away at university, while Daniel’s mother-in-law works in accounts and the grandchildren would like to lend a helping hand!
When Ray and Carole first acquired the Ryde building it was an old flour mill and they only had the front of the building in which to house both the shop and their bakery. Business soon took off and grew far quicker than they could have hoped for, with queues out the door and constant orders being placed. At this point, Ray pretty much lived in the shop, working 20 hour days, even sleeping on a camp bed in the office during the busy season. With business booming, 4 years after opening, the second Grace’s shop opened in Newport, with Shanklin and Cowes quickly following suit. The most recent addition is the shop in Yarmouth, opened last year. Today Grace’s Bakery employs 50 plus member of staff from around the Island.
Ray is keen to preserve the traditional baking methods he learnt as a 15 year old just starting his trade. Having worked his way through college, he went on to gain more experience working around the world including London, Europe and Africa, as a bakery specialist and later a Master Baker. Ray has remained true to his roots and his passion for quality remains throughout the Grace’s stores today. Our produce is freshly made daily from scratch: while the island is sleeping Grace’s is making bread and cakes using the traditional ways as used in Ryde’s old flour mill. No additives or bleached flours are used. All flours are sourced from England and a range of local Island produce is also used. Ray has won several awards throughout his 40 year career but the one that means the most to him is the ‘Island’s Best Bakery’ at the Island Life Food and Drinks award, as this was voted for by the Island public and customers of their stores.
The success of Grace’s Bakery comes from within, it is a business that has not received any grants or outside help, preferring to rely on the family all pulling together. This attitude can also be witnessed on the high seas when Ray and his family who are keen sailors, compete as a team in the Round the Island Race!
As Grace’s bakery continues to go from strength to strength it is interesting to note that the name “Grace” actually comes from Ray’s grandmother who he greatly admired. She devoted her life to service and with her selflessness and kindness she truly was a small lady with very big heart. The name has been given as a fitting tribute to her, allowing her legend to live on as the Redrup family continue their truly family affair.