When Alan Gelder started in 1958 making a few pies to supplement his income while working in his father Sam’s butcher’s shop in Sunderland, it is unlikely that he would have anticipated that, some fifty years later, he would be running a highly successful pie making business with his son Tony Gelder, his daughter Hilary Monk and her husband Wayne Monk as well as employing more than 30 people!

Beginning with a few mince and onion pies, demand quickly outstripped production and so Alan and his wife Lillian moved into a small shop and bought their first camwheat pie machine and took on their first staff. Even this was not enough and so Alan took over the back of his father’s butcher’s shop and turned it into a bakery. Eventually taking over the whole business!

Demand continued to grow and, in 1991, Alan brought the business under one roof at its present premises. Up until the move, it is quite incredible to realise that Jane Gelder, Sam’s wife, was still selling pies from the shop at the age of 80. Even his wife, Lillian worked in the business until her retirement!

Today the business still has Alan Gelder at the helm, along with Tony, Wayne and Hilary as partners in the Bakery. Tony Gelder, who is responsible for sales, says, “Today, all of our business is wholesale. We deliver to Ashington, Middlesborough, Darlington and Stockton. We have nine vans on the road and either deliver every day or alternate days. We supply 24 shops for Asda, 16 for Tesco and 40 for Heron Frozen Food Shops but we also supply baker’s shops, butcher’s shops and even fish and chip shops. Basically we supply over 300 shops every day.”

“We still use the same recipes as when we started for our mince and onion pies. Every one of our recipes is of our own making and some we have tweaked over the years. At one time, we were making over 10,000 mince pies a week but the demand for these pies has gradually dropped; however the demand for others has risen to more than compensate.”

The product range is quite mouth-watering! Starting with the traditional mince and onion pie, which is made from top quality mince with a dash of onion and a special blend of gravy and spices, the next on the list is a steak, kidney and onion pie. This is made with succulent chunks of steak and kidney in an onion and gravy sauce. Ask many a person in Sunderland and they will almost certainly say that they were brought up on a Gelders Mince & Onion Pie! Gelder’s also do a lovely Chicken Curry Pie with chunks of chicken in a spicy curry sauce! And so the list goes on through sausage rolls, pasties and pork pies. They even do a Cheese Sheppie that combines the mince pie with a potato topping and cheddar cheese – Gelder’s version of the Shepherd’s pie!

Looking to the future, Wayne is changing the branding but retaining the traditional logo. Meanwhile Tony is also moving from packs of three to packs of two on the mince pies and if this is successful we will introduce this across the range.

To find out more please telephone 0191 548 9572 or visit www.geldersbakery.com.


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