A Staffordshire Oatcake

Potteries related

Oatcake site will be a work of art! The Sentinel - Monday, May 04, 2009

A BUSINESS is offering free advertising to North Staffordshire artists and authors as it launches its new website.

Staffordshire Oatcakes, based in Carlisle Street, Dresden, has also just started to export its produce for a global customer base – kept fresh for transit by a "secret ingredient".

Owner Chris Bates wants to feature the work of Stoke-on-Trent residents – or those with a connection to the area – as his family-run business continues to expand.

The free promotion idea came after historian Pam Sambrook contacted him to ask permission to use photographs from his website in a book she was writing about the history of North Staffordshire's traditional delicacy.

He said: "Pam wrote a booklet in the 1970s and was in the process of rewriting it."

"She contacted us about using some of our photos, and we thought we could help out by featuring her work on the website. Our original website has been quite successful for three to four years, and we've just upgraded it. We thought we would make it available to other authors and artists who have a connection to Stoke-on-Trent, who would like to advertise their work. I'm a Stoke lad and always have been. I thought this would be a nice way to promote the area and the talented people who live and work here."

Visitors to the website will be able to click on an image and explanation of the artist's or author's work, which will then enable them to make contact by email to buy the product or ask for more information.

Originally based in Slater Street, Middleport, Staffordshire Oatcakes moved when the area was declared a clearance zone. Two years ago the company – which employs one full-time and three part-time staff, in addition to Mr Bates and his wife Sue – moved to Dresden, where its bakehouse and sandwich shop Oatcake Kitchen and Cafe is based. The internet business is based in a separate part of the store.

Mr Bates added: "Since we've been selling the oatcakes online, the website has grown. We started sending our traditional oatcake, pikelet and gluten-free mixes to customers all over the world, to countries including Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas. Now we are sending actual oatcakes, ready-made to the same customer base. This has come about because of the interest we had from the mixes. It's the next stage up."

"We sell them in packs of 12, which cost £3.95 plus postage. They have a shelf life of 21 days but the way we achieve that is one of our trade secrets."

Tim O'Grady, marketing executive for Heart of England Fine Foods, said: "I'm pleased that the Staffordshire oatcake is gaining more recognition and helping to put the heart of England on the map. Our region has some fantastic and unique products that we should be proud of – with the Staffordshire oatcake certainly being one of them."

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