Today the name Morris’s is synonymous with quality baking but it wasn’t always so. The family business started in butchery, and over the past 98 years made the journey from Butchers to Bakers.
In 1912 Walter Morris opened a butchers shop on Spendmore Lane, Coppull, after working in the butchery department of the local Co-op. The shop thrived and was passed down to his son who continued the family business of supplying the Coppull area with the finest ’home-killed’ meats, and in turn it was passed to his son Henry. Today the company is still run by Walter’s grandson Henry and his wife, Christine. It was Henry’s business flare and keen eye for food trends that not only changed the direction of the company but has seen it grow into one of the North West’s finest Bakeries.
In the early 1970s Henry noticed that in the summer months stewing steak did not sell as well as in winter, which meant he had to sell this meat to pie manufacturers at a lower price to break even. Henry decided to process this meat himself making pasties, sausage rolls and hotpots, and was soon building a name for the quality of these products.In 1973 he swapped three joints of meat for his first pie block and added a variety of pies to his growing product list.
His first big contract was to supply the three main Leyland Motors’ plants, taking the production of pies from two days a week to five. By 1975 Henry had bought a van and hired a driver, had increased his equipment and range of pies and started extending the shop; so Morris’s Pies was born. In 1980 Henry bought a Prover at the auction of an old bakers in Chorley, and decided to try his hand at making barmcakes to add to his range. Henry’s eye for the change in food trends had given him another avenue to follow. He’d noticed that pubs had started to sell food, the era of ‘pub grub’ had begun, and Henry seized upon the opportunity. Soon Morris’s Pies were supplying most of the pubs in Leyland with pies, barmcakes and soup rolls; by 1982 Henry had bought another van and had 6 employees. He also bought his first Wrapper which meant his rolls, wrapped in 12, would stay fresh for a few days, giving him the edge over his competitors. By listening to the feedback from his customers Henry started to experiment with the shape and depth of the pies, giving them a more traditional home made look; the orders flooded in.
On a Bank Holiday weekend in 1983 things could have gone terribly wrong had fate not played a hand in the future course of Henry’s business. On the Bank Holiday Friday the Leyland contract was taken over by a contract caterers, bad news for Morris’s Pies; but on the Bank Holiday Saturday afternoon Henry got a phone call from Park Hall Hotel asking for help as a baker had let them down. Henry delivered an order of 50 dozen barmcakes the next morning, and picked up the whole of the Park Hall account for his trouble. A prime example of one door closing as another one opens.
By 1988 Morris’s Pies employed 12 to 14 people and the shop was getting too small, so Henry started looking around for new premises. As he wanted to keep the business in Coppull his attention was drawn to the old good’s yard of Coppull Train Station. Although it was derelict land, Henry saw that it had great potential. After a touch of detective work Henry found the owner of the land, told him of his plans for the site and the sale was cemented with a handshake.By 15th December 1989 Morris’s of Coppull opened for business, with 15 staff and 3 vans, supplying pies, cakes, rolls and bread.
As time went on food trends changed once more and Henry was there to see it happen. The fast food market became much stronger, people started to eat burgers and fries instead of pies and sausage rolls. The legislation for all high risk ingredients, such as meat and diary products, became so restrictive that Henry decided to change the direction of the company once again. In 1995, with Morris’s of Coppull becoming more and more geared towards rolls and morning goods, the decision was made to stop production of pies and cream cakes, and concentrate fully on the bread products. Now called Morris’s Quality Bakers, the company won the Local Authority contract to supply over 700 local schools and to broaden their delivery range to include West Yorkshire, Cheshire & Staffordshire. Also winning back the Leyland contract, bringing the story almost full circle.
These days there is much Walter wouldn’t recognise about his original business. Morris’s Quality Bakers employs 150 people 7 days a week to prepare, bake and dispatch their products in 43 vans throughout the North West. In 2005 the bakery has had a large 2 storey extension built which has released much needed space for offices and storage. The second phase of the development was finished by the end of that year, giving the staff new changing rooms and a canteen.
In 2006 we extended again to incorporate a new loading bay freeing up space within our despatch area.
In 2007 a new maintenance garage was built, complete with its own inspection pit. Also in this year a new storage building was erected to again create space within the factory.
In 2009 we have had to extend our staff parking area to enable all our employees parking space within the grounds.
2010 we now supply Asda as a regional supplier for bread and rolls to their small store concept. We supply a range of products that Asda normally sell in their larger ’In Store’ Bakeries. The two stores that we deliver to are Pontefract and Hazel Grove.
2011 We have extended our despatch department and we have also created a new reception area.
2013 Within this year we have moved even further into the retail market. We now supply 33 Asda Supermarkets throughout the North West. We have gained business with Tesco supplying into some of their local stores. We also supply our products into 99p stores and some Martin McColl stores. Our vehicle fleet has now risen to 47 to accommodate all this extra business.
We’ve come a long way over the last 100 years, but our commitment to quality and innovation has never changed. We are rightly proud of our company and you can taste this pride in every loaf we bake