It started with a few loaves of sourdough at the Cambridge farmer’s market.
Fast forward 11 years, and Volare now boasts six Waikato retail stores, and a workforce of 65.
The Hamilton bakery has developed a loyal following of customers who appreciate high quality - and delicious - handcrafted Artisan breads and pastries.
A swag of awards reflects the company’s success and standing in New Zealand’s food scene.
Volare is owned by friends Ed Hemming – the behind-the-scenes guy – and Ryan Simmons, the head baker. They attended Hamilton’s Hillcrest High School and have been friends since.
Ed and Ryan took a risk launching their business in the middle of the 2009 global financial crisis, after their market research found there was a gap in the market.
“Once you press go, you can’t really pull back, so it was a case of doing what we could to scrape together funds and get money in the door and try to make it work,’ says Ed.
With an entrepreneurial spirit, and well executed business plan, the bakery quickly grew.
Volare has thrived, at a time when people are more aware of what they eat and where their food has come from.
“We are honest with what we do and the ingredients we use. Sourdough bread is obviously a much healthier option than mass produced breads.”
All the custard Volare uses is made from scratch, and croissants (New Zealand’s Best BIANZ) are made from pure New Zealand butter.
“People still want that occasional treat with something sweet. At least if it is coming from us you know all the ingredients we use are as pure and natural as they can be.”
Their first bakery was in a small outlet in Lake Rd, in the heart of Frankton’s industrial area. They baked for local markets and have not missed a single Hamilton Farmer’s Market since. They also supply cafes and restaurants.
For Ryan, baking is in his blood. He is a fifth-generation baker, with family before him owning Morrinsville’s Burmester Bakery. Ed earlier trained as a civil engineer.
The basic traditional San Francisco sourdough remains their most popular product. “We have been doing it since the very start and it is probably because it is so versatile.”
Such is the demand, the Volare bakery, on Hamilton’s Gallagher Drive, runs ‘pretty much 24-7,” with preparation of the next day’s bread always starting at 6am the day before.
Volare now churns through a tonne of New Zealand’s best wheat flour a day.
Volare is even finding a place on the tourist trail with European tourists regularly stopping in to stock up on bread at the Gallagher Drive bakery on their way to Raglan.
The baked goods are delivered to Volare retail outlets in Garden Place, Hamilton East, Greenhill, Cambridge and Te Awamutu. There is also a daily run to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui.
Volare boasts a swag of bakery awards in a hotly contested sector, including the current titles of best sausage roll, and best croissant in the New Zealand Baking Industry Awards.
Ed credits BNZ bank for their ongoing support “we have a very good bank manager,” and also training partly funded through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to do further business leadership training in Auckland.