Portadown’s Holmes Bakery, a Food NI member, has formed a novel business partnership with Santa Claus, Finland.
Holmes is partnering up with the Santa Claus Foundation,Finland, an international charity, that has been acclaimed for its charitable donations and initiatives throughout the world that support children in need.
The official Santa Claus, Finland, logo will be featuring on products from the multi-award-winning Holmes Bakery as a result of a European franchise agreement with the Santa Claus Foundation.
The Santa Claus Foundation, which is based in Santa’s true homeland in Finland, is a well- known organisation which aims to spread Santa’s universal message of love and good will to the children of the world by advocating for those most in need. Finnish President, Sauli Niniinisto, is currently the patron of the charitable foundation.
Holmes, one of Northern Ireland’s most successful small bakeries, has been awarded the licence to produce three products under the Santa Claus, Finland brand for the UK and EU markets.
Holmes is crafting Christmas bakery favourites (and of course Santa’s favourite treats): Christmas Pudding, mince pies and shortbread biscuits, under the agreement negotiated with Des Campbell who is responsible for franchising deals at the foundation.
Gillian Castles, sales manager of the family owned and managed Holmes Bakery, commented on the agreement, saying: “We were thrilled when Des Campbell chose our company from the profiles provided to him from the Invest NI food marketing team and approached us about working with the foundation to provide premium bakery products.
“As a result, we have been working with the foundation’s team on developing three products and on shaping our packaging in line with the foundation’s specific requirements.
“It’s an exciting business opportunity for us to engage with what is probably the world’s best known and most loved brand. What’s even better is that we are also supporting the foundation and its charitable works. That’s what Christmas is all about.
“The agreement will see our premium baked goods on sale especially in markets outside Northern Ireland.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for us to grow our business in both short and longer terms,” she adds.
The business is the outcome of a lead to Holmes Bakery from Invest NI’s food marketing team in Belfast. The company followed up quickly and secured the business.
Mr Campbell, who has a background in marketing and licensing and is based in Northern Ireland, was appointed by the foundation to take on its franchising role in early 2019. “I’ve been especially keen to involve Northern Ireland companies in working with the foundation since then. There are many excellent food processors here in particular,” he says.
“I was aware of the outstanding quality and taste of the baked goods from Holmes and was delighted to reach an agreement with such a successful and flexible local producer.
“I am confident that the franchise agreement will be mutually beneficial for the foundation and Holmes bakery. When you buy a product with the official Santa Claus logo on it not only are you supporting a local business but the Santa Claus Foundation’s charitable aims.
“I’ve certainly found the bakery enthusiastic about the opportunity and quick in responding to the foundation’s specific requirement,” he adds.
The agreement with the foundation is seen by the bakery as a significant development within its strategic focus on growing sales outside Northern Ireland. It already supplies a number of retailers in Britain including on-line shopping site Ocado. It recently signed a significant deal to supply 10 lines of handcrafted products to Shoprite, the Isle of Man’s leading supermarket chain.