NOT much beats the smell of fresh, home-baked bread in the morning.

Team that with some locally sourced cheese and coffee roasted in Burtonwood and you’re onto a winner.

This is exactly what Mamars, at the old bank on Bridge Street, does since moving from Warrington Market almost 18 months ago.

Here, in our latest Food and Drink feature, owners Sonia Johnson and Sarah Oliver tell us why a sense of community is so important to running a successful town centre business.

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The hard-working team at Mamars

The hard-working team at Mamars

What’s the name of the business?


What’s the address?

78 Bridge Street


* Now at The Hive on Sankey Street

Are you the owner/manager?

We are co-owners. Sonia is also the operational manager and main baker.

When did you open the business?

We opened in September 2021.

Locally sourced cheeses and meats are available in the deli every day

Locally sourced cheeses and meats are available in the deli every day

Has it always been in the same location?

No, Sonia previously ran the business as a sole trader on Warrington Market when it was called Mamars Bread and Cheese.



A lockdown business born from a love of freshly roasted coffee


Are you local to the area? Did you grow up here?

Sonia was born and grew up in Orford and still lives there. Sarah was born and grew up in Leicester but moved to Warrington around 30 years ago and now lives in Appleton.

Tell me a bit about your business. What do you do? What services do you provide?

We are an artisan bakery and licensed delicatessen. We make and bake artisan breads, cakes and a small number of pastries fresh every day in our bread oven, which customers can see when they visit the shop. We directly source artisan cheese, cured meats and delicatessen items as well as additional artisan products like coffee from Burtonwood Coffee Company, chutneys and jams from Cheshire Chutney and South Devon Chilli Farm, craft beers and ciders from 4Ts Brewery and other brewers and wines from Gerrard Seel. Working directly with small businesses and independent traders is great. We also provide wholesale baked goods to local small businesses, bake our own hams and meats and offer an in house eating experience that includes bread, cheese and meats. We run community and commercial events including a women’s health group, a bread club, bread baking classes and workshops and we host a number of charities and support groups - SOBs UK and Supportive Sloths, Cheshire Mental Fitness and Wellbeing, and a number of local town centre based faith groups. We also have cheese and wine nights and supper clubs in addition to offering private hire.

Mamars - an artisan bakery and licensed delicatessen

Mamars - an artisan bakery and licensed delicatessen

Why did you decide to open your own business?

The original market stall opened at the very beginning of the pandemic after Sonia was made redundant and found herself baking bread every day! The expanded business came about because Sonia needed a bigger place to bake in a more appropriate environment - the market is a little draughty! The growth in community-focussed activities is due to both Sonia and Sarah working in the public sector – Sonia for 35 years with children’s services and Sarah for 32 years with the police.

Why this type of business?

There was a clear gap in the market. There were no bread bakeries and no cheese shops for miles around. No artisan food places either and with the love of good food made from quality ingredients, offered simply and linked to a community ethos, it just felt like the right thing to do.



Korean fried chicken tickling tastebuds on Warrington Market


How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect your business?

We originally opened in June 2020 at the start of the pandemic. This means growth has been really slow, particularly following expansion and due to the current cost-of-living climate. Footfall in the town centre is also much lower now than before the pandemic so business does feel a little tough.

Bread is baked fresh each morning

Bread is baked fresh each morning

What makes your business different to others in the same area/field? What sets your business apart from your competitors?

We feel we are unique as there nowhere else like Mamars in Warrington or indeed in the majority of the north west. Some aspects of the business are similar of course but the mixture is definitely not. The community approach sets us apart from other places and we make everything from scratch. There are a small number of businesses returning to a time when food was properly made with no additives and no processing but they are very limited. We also focus very much on small businesses and independent traders to source our products, so we can offer things not found elsewhere.

Why do loyal customers return to your business?

Because they love good food and the community atmosphere!

What’s next? What do the next few months hold for you and your business?

We are currently in the process of transferring to a community interest company so we can fully embrace this aspect of our business and make it the focal point together with the food. This means we want to offer more classes and workshops and run regular supper clubs with different community themes, bringing people back together. Winning New Business of the Year at The Warrington Business Awards last November was fantastic and we'd love to build on that success.

Sandwiches and cakes are welcome additions to community meetings at Mamars

Sandwiches and cakes are welcome additions to community meetings at Mamars