Through the uncertainty of the last 18 months, it’s incredible to see such a diverse range of businesses starting up and flourishing within the Oswestry area.
Oswestry Life Magazine’s David Lee-Birch, had the privilege to visit one of these local success stories, Niche Patisserie.
Adam Cleal, a semi-finalist in the 2019 series of Channel 4’s ‘Bake Off: The Professionals’, and his mother Samantha Cleal launched the family business in May 2020 on the outskirts of Oswestry, initially operating a delivery and collection service.
The business has now grown and will operate from Oswestry’s 400-year-old former Black Gate building, in Salop Road.
On entering the iconic Grade 2 listed building, you are hit by the beautiful smells of baked delights. Busy in the preparation area is the man behind the pastries and the Niche Afternoon Tea experience, Adam – a Michelin Star-trained chef who finished as a semi-finalist on the popular Channel 4 show, as well as second in the UK & Ireland Junior Chocolate Masters Competition.
Sat in the front lounge area of the building, we enjoy coffee with Samantha and discuss the exciting new developments, occasionally been interrupted by local professional trades people sympathetically transforming the inside of this most loved building. Looking outside of the window into Salop Road a couple eagerly stand admiring the building, looking for signs of life through the attractive Niche branding.
Beautiful furnishings including colourful velvet chairs are ready to position, giving a sneak preview of how the front of house will look.
Samantha said: “We are very fortunate and grateful to have received several grants making this progression possible. Funding was given by the Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) and the Shropshire Wider Economy Recovery Grant. The HAZ funding enabled our first fixings to be completed, included the latest hygiene boards within the kitchen and preparation areas and a full electrical rewire.
The Shropshire Wider Economy Recovery Grant fund basically helped to get us going. We have also received funding for training and have taken on one apprentice who starts in September. This was organised through the Scottish Bakers Association.
Other positions will become available in the future, both kitchen and front of house.
Once open we aim to offer both a luxury bakery side and shop, in addition to a first-class coffee and tea experience, available to enjoy inside, outside on the terrace or to takeaway and enjoy. All our products will be what you would expect from a five-star hotel. We will offer the most luxurious Afternoon Tea Experience created by Adam and the Niche team served in a beautiful lounge environment.
Another exciting offering will be an experience called The Pass, which will allow up to four people to have a one-to-one with Adam about how their afternoon tea is created.
Working with Oswestry Town Museum and historians in the area we are uncovering interesting new information on this beautiful building.”
What started as a local brand with more than 1,200 residential customers, Niche is now getting national recognition. They serve commercial clients based north of Chester, Liverpool and further afield.
Samantha added: “We are looking at a soft launch very soon and aim to be fully open by the end of August/ early September.
We are truly appreciative of the support and enthusiasm from the local community.
The aim is to be a destination to come to in Shropshire putting Oswestry firmly on the map for high quality patisserie and viennoiserie, all created by a highly trained and skilled pastry chef nationally known.
The new website will be live very soon but, in the meantime, you can follow Niche Patisserie on both Facebook and Instagram.