‘Hidden gem’ lockdown bakehouse eyes up first shop in Knaresborough
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Last updated Oct 12, 2021
Mark Gibson (left) and James Paylor (right) are the team behind Coven Bakehouse.

Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble. This hidden gem of a lockdown business inspired by witches has been brewing up a different kind of magic.

Coven Bakehouse, set up by friends Mark Gibson and James Paylor, started out of a small home kitchen in Harrogate earlier this year.

While a conventional oven is working for now they are keen to upgrade to a professional kitchen as soon as possible.

Orders are already picking up for their brownies and cookies – with more treats are on the way – so they now have an eye on a shop unit on Knaresborough’s High Street.

Both Mark and James, who are both 27 and met when they were 16, work in industries that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.


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However, the pair hope to have the doors open to customers in Knaresborough by the end of summer.

Indulgence is the name of the game here. Coven has a limited collection of caramel egg brownies, chocolate orange brownies and various gooey cookies.

James Paylor, a graphic designer and co owner of Coven Bakehouse, told the Stray Ferret what inspired the branding:

“That came from my partner, she works at Mother Shipton’s Cave and she is obsessed with witches. You have to be to work there.

“We were throwing around lots of names and as soon as she said it we knew it was the right thing. From then things started to fit into place.

“So it would perfect to start out our first shop in Knaresborough.”

Mark Gibson, who is a chef by trade, also told the Stray Ferret:

“It was halfway through the first lockdown when we saw lots of businesses selling cakes and stuff.

“We were looking at what they were doing and knew we could do it a hell of a lot better.

“So we knew if we were going to ever start a business, which is what we have always wanted to do, then now was the perfect time.”

This is part of the Stray Ferret’s ‘hidden gem’ series. We are trying to highlight small independent businesses. They need to be tucked away but growing in popularity with an eye-catching and unique product or approach. Send us an email with your nominations.


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