Business is really sweet for Keswick couple Laura and Stephen Johnson who are making plans to further expand their successful company which supplies cakes and tray bakes across the Lake District and West Cumbria.
The couple started their Cakes from the Lakes business after the success of their popular Laura in the Lakes café in Main Street which continues to thrive in its 10th year.
The cafe opened in 2010 and its home-baked food has made it a popular eatery with local people and visitors alike, attracting a countywide following.
By 2015 Laura and Stephen had decided to branch out and formed their second company, Cakes from the Lakes, which was initially run from the upstairs of the café, but now operates from bigger premises in a unit at Threlkeld business park.
Made from Laura’s own recipes, the cakes and tray bakes are supplied to customers ranging from small corner shops to large cafes and restaurants.
The couple, with their children Charlie, then aged six, and three-year-old Olivia, moved to Keswick from Cambridge in 2006, when Stephen became the general manager at the Lodore Falls Hotel in the Borrowdale Valley, while Laura began work as a sales manager at the Rheged Centre, near Penrith.
Although they were happy in their work, Stephen noticed that the lease for a cafe in Main Street was coming up for sale and they realised they had found their next 10-year-project — which is now expanding into a 15-year plan.
Stephen said: “Laura has a degree in hospitality management, and I knew she had been a deli manager in Australia and loved it, so it seemed a great idea to take on the cafe lease, and so Laura in the Lakes was born.”
Although Stephen was enjoying working at the Lodore Hotel, as the business took off, he decided to give up his job and join Laura in the café.
“We split our time between the two businesses now and really love our life. Our 10-year plan has evolved into at least a 15-year project because we love what we are doing,” said Laura.
The couple’s children grew up in the Keswick area, but son Charlie is now a trainee air traffic controller in Maastricht, in the Netherlands, while Olivia is in her last year at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith.
They admit that 2020 has been a strange and difficult year in which to celebrate their cafe’s 10th anniversary due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic.
Stephen said: “Luckily, we have been blessed with the support of our loyal local customers and the government schemes which have meant we have been able to continue and keep our staff.
“Our aim over the coming year is to carry on expanding our cake empire,” he added.