Famous St Helens pies are coming back to the high street
2 months ago
He made it his mission to bring Pimbletts ‘back to its former glory and make it part of the high street where it belongs’.
And now businessman Ryan Little is almost there after the success of a Christmas pop-up shop has led to it being opened permanently.
The temporary shop in Boundary Road was so popular the 28-year-old has decided to make it to make it a permanent fixture and spent more than £10,000 on refurbishing it before it welcomes customers back again this month.
And Ryan says:
“I hope that by the end of this year, or early next, we’ll have a Pimbletts bakery back in the centre of St Helens too.”
He says the pop-up shop has shown that there is still demand for this iconic brand from the people of St Helens, and beyond.
“The pop-up was a bit of a trial and it has been really popular. St Helens is well known for three things, rugby, glass, and pies – and Pimmies Pies are part of the town’s tradition and heritage.
“The look and feel of the pop-up wasn’t really what, as a brand, we were after so we have refurbished the shop and changed the layout to provide a homely and fresh feel that a bakery needs.
“Have I succeeded in my mission? Not yet, but we’re definitely getting there!”
Ryan, who’s originally from Thatto Heath and now lives in Eccleston, took over the 100-year-old Pimbletts business in 2021.
Originally founded by John and Mary Pimblett in 1921, Pimbletts shops had closed in 2008 and Arthur Bevan took over between 2009-2021, creating Pimmies Pies Limited and continuing to trade from a small warehouse on the outskirts of the town centre using the original recipes.
But few people knew it was there.
When Ryan took over from Arthur Bevan he announced a plan ‘to re-unite the St Helens community with the flavours and tastes of years gone by’ and just over two years later, that plan is well on track.
Ryan and his team have steadily pursued their goal to restore the famous brand of pies, cakes and pastries to where it once was.
Although still available from the warehouse bakery in Jackson Street – and Earlestown Market every Friday – they have expanded the wholesale operation to ensure its much-loved products are stocked at cafes, delis and coffee shops, as well as other venues, including World of Glass, across the town.
They have even taken Pimbletts to Liverpool, supplying its pies to Albert Dock pub The One O’Clock Gun from December last year.
The Boundary Road shop will be the first bakery back in the town and, as well as plans to open a town centre shop as soon as possible, Ryan wants to see many more.
“We also get a lot of requests to ship pies to people who have moved away from the area and we are working on a way to send them out without the pies getting damaged. I’d also like to make Pimbletts a national brand, whether that’s on the high street like Greggs or through selling them to supermarkets.
“Our growth has been limited by the machinery and size of venue we inherited, but I’d definitely like to see Pimbletts going beyond just local – and introducing it to a new generation.”
“Younger relatives had never heard of them, but I remember going into Pimbletts when I was young – they were everywhere. I’d like to see that again.
“The Boundary Road shop is the start.”