A WELL loved artisan bakery company is opening its sixth store later this year in Christchurch.

Patisserie Mark Bennett, which already has five stores in Dorset, made the announcement on Facebook on June 3.

This announcement follows eight months of negotiations and battling against the tide of coronavirus, which slowed the exciting process down for owner and award-winning baker Mark Bennett.

He explained: "This had been going on for a while, but everything slowed down with coronavirus. We wanted a new shop, somewhere that was not over saturated. There are no craft bakers in Christchurch and I just thought 'let's go for it.'"

The new store, located on number four to five Christchurch High Street, was also deemed a prime location due to the large number of customers from Christchurch who visit Mark's other patisseries and request one closer to home.

Despite now getting prepared for another business venture, Mark is conscious of the continuing threat of coronavirus.

He said: "We are ensuring that our bakery has the capacity to cope. We don't want the quality to suffer. We're not sure about indoor seating at the moment but the Christchurch bakery will have plenty of outdoor seating."

Mark's nephew will be starting work on the building on June 15 with the hopes of the bakery opening mid-July to offer a takeaway service and safe outdoor seating.

Mark said: "I'm quite upbeat and optimistic about it and I think it will do well. During coronavirus we have been very lucky as we can still maintain our business. I feel very lucky that we have been able to continue and we do not take it lightly."

To keep up to date with the new Patisserie Mark Bennett in Christchurch, visit Patisserie Mark Bennett on Facebook.