Ham&High Podcast: Gail’s Bakery boss on opening in South End Green
- Credit: Gail's Bakery
“I look around and think: ‘Would we add to the street?’”
Having started in the heart of Hampstead, Gail’s Bakery has enjoyed considerable growth, with around 60 outlets in the London area.
The latest opens today in South End Green in the building formerly occupied by Le Pain Quotidien - and long before that the site of Booklover’s Corner, where George Orwell once worked.
Gail’s CEO Tom Molnar is the guest on this week’s Ham&High Podcast, and speaks passionately about the quality of bread and baked goods the business produces.
In 2005 he cofounded the company with Gail Mejia (“I wanted to meet the top three bakers in London and she was one of them”).
The 54-year-old is fond of the new site at the corner of Pond Street and South End Road, and says that when considering a site he asks what Gail’s would add to the street.
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The chain joins a large number of food and coffee outlets already trading in South End Green, but Tom said they should not be concerned by another business opening.
“I think the biggest thing I’d say for the small traders is...we should all be doing a great job and make the street attractive,” he said, adding: “The world is way too big for us to run anybody out of business or to materially impact [them].”
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Tom is very concerned about the situation for food suppliers, saying: “We shouldn’t forget that there are still a lot of producers and people who are making stuff that are suffering because they don’t have the restaurants and hotels open.
“I still see that from the people that we buy from and we’re trying to do our best to help them.”
He said the pandemic has encouraged a commitment to buying quality produce locally, “speeding up the process that was already happening”.
Originally from Florida, Tom can often be seen skateboarding around London, although he says Haverstock Hill is a bit much to push up from his Camden Town home. He says “cities have to be in reinvented” as they are “too dominated by cars”, but he cautions that the nature of businesses like his means motor transport is still important.
To hear the full interview, subscribe free to the Ham&High Podcast via https://podfollow.com/hamhigh/ or on your regular podcast app.