FROM its flagship sourdough bread to traditional pastries and sweet treats, Reeve the Baker has been a staple in the food and drink scene across Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset for decades.

Born in 1952, the bakery now has 12 stores across the south west, with the heart of its nearly 24-hour operation based in Wilton.

It is here that bakers arrive before dawn to create cakes, bread and more, to then be delivered to shops just in time for opening at 7.30am.

With products made fresh every day, with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, Reeve’s managing director Gary Reeve told the Journal that the bakery’s bestsellers include its “famous” sourdough loaves, cheese straws and sausage rolls, alongside its current speciality Biscoff and Oreo doughnuts.

Salisbury Journal: Delivery driver Trev Cook with managing director Gary ReeveDelivery driver Trev Cook with managing director Gary Reeve

On Saturday alone (May 29) around 1,000 cheese straws were delivered across the 12 stores, alongside more than 1,100 sourdough loaves, which customers are quick to buy to enjoy their freshly baked goodness.

“We know what keeps our customers coming back, even when people are on holiday and know they are passing one of our stores they will ring up to see if they can stock up on our loaves,” he added.

Salisbury Journal: Freshly baked sourdough loavesFreshly baked sourdough loaves

Gary is at the forefront of developing new and speciality products, putting together the recipe to then create a batch to be tried and tested before sending out to the shops.

Oreo and Biscoff are the two latest doughnut flavours adored by customers, with both types continuing to sell out daily.

“We try to offer a balance of traditional products while also keeping up with modern trends and maintaining traditional in how we do it," Gary added.

"We love to create new and unique products and the customers seem to love it too."

Salisbury Journal: Time for the quiches to come out of the ovenTime for the quiches to come out of the oven

While the Covid-19 pandemic initially caused Reeve’s to close its shops back in March last year, knocking a workforce of more than 230 temporarily down to less than 20, the bakery has come back stronger than ever.

Despite radical changes overnight, all shops were back open by the end of June 2020 with social distancing and safety measures in full force.

Salisbury Journal: A fresh delievry is made to the Butcher Row shopA fresh delievry is made to the Butcher Row shop

During the first coronavirus lockdown the bakery offered a village delivery service to help get basic supplies to those unable to get to the shops, which by the second week was being used by around 25 villages.

This was only achieved through the support of volunteers in the villages taking orders and helping distribute bread when Reeve’s delivered each week.

A direct result of Covid-19, Reeve’s later launched a home delivery website replacing the weekly village deliveries, continuing to help customers that were still unable to come back to the high street.

Salisbury Journal: Reeve the Baker driver Trev Cook completes all of his home deliveriesReeve the Baker driver Trev Cook completes all of his home deliveries

“We never had this service before, you could only order for occasions,” Gary added.

The Reeve’s team also used the pandemic to consider their efficiencies including their carbon footprint and how they could reduce it as much as possible, resulting in one delivery to each store in the morning instead of two trips.

With a focus on supporting local businesses and the community, including charities, schools and sport teams, Gary said: “We like to think people see each of our shops as an independent business, we want to put into the community as much as possible.”

Salisbury Journal: Preparing the cheese strawsPreparing the cheese straws

Despite the bakery’s clear local ethos, ingredients will be sourced from further afield if it benefits the authenticity of a product, for example the French flour used in croissants and baguettes.

Talking about what makes the bakery special, Gary said: “The combination of our products and staff make Reeve the Baker what it is; our products are expertly crafted by our team of artisan bakers who then pass them on to our amazing sales teams out in the shops.

"This is closely followed by our loyal customers, and we want to keep their loyalty by offering the best quality products back.”

Salisbury Journal: Emma Musselwhite prepares up to 100 filled rolls everydayEmma Musselwhite prepares up to 100 filled rolls everyday

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