La Concorde Bakery was established by Rena and Michael in 1968. Three generations have taken passion and dedication to build the iconic business.
The Charming Artisanal Bakery and Cafe
Our story began in 1957, when Rena and Michael left Piraeus, Greece, with their two young sons to start a new life in Johannesburg. They arrived with little money, limited English, and a wealth of knowledge gained from working in the food manufacturing industry. They observed that Johannesburg did not widely offer the cuisine and baked goods they were accustomed to in Greece. Seeing this, they seized the opportunity to introduce an authentic Mediterranean flair to the South African food and bakery experience.
In 1968 they opened their own artisanal bakery and cafe on Prichard Street, in the Old Johannesburg CBD. The business was called La Concorde Bakery, after the Place de la Concorde in Paris, where the world’s finest pastries and confectionery could be found.
La Concorde Bakery built a reputation as the only bakery in the area that offered traditional European and Jewish culinary delights. They were known for their authentic Mediterranean meals and charming selection of handcrafted bread, rolls, pastries, and confectionery. La Concorde Bakery was also admired for its delightful store design and warm, sophisticated atmosphere. It became a gathering place among professionals working in the area, and many regulars visited on a daily basis.
An Expansion into Retail Stores
From the mid-1970s, the second generation of the family opened retail branches of La Concorde Bakery in Emmerentia, Bramley, Westgate, the East Rand Mall, Killarney, and Norwood. The new stores remained faithful to La Concorde Bakery’s heritage. They continued to supply artisanal bread, rolls, pastries, and confectionery to customers, and a Deli component was also introduced to the business.
Soon after opening the new stores, wholesale customers approached La Concorde Bakery, needing bakery products to be delivered to their premises. This was a huge opportunity, and although La Concorde Bakery remained primarily a retail bakery, the company also began to supply wholesale customers.
The Transformation into a Wholesale Bakery
This business model remained successful for the next 25 years. However, the 1990s brought a sudden and intense increase in demand from wholesale customers. La Concorde Bakery and other market suppliers struggled to fully service this demand as they were not equipped for such rapid growth.
In 1999, the family leveraged their existing wholesale capabilities and opened a La Concorde Bakery wholesale factory in Linbro Business Park. Unlike the retail stores, which only had artisanal offerings, the factory was automated and equipped for mass production. This expansion gave La Concorde Bakery the manufacturing capacity to meet the unmet wholesale demand.
Over the following decade, La Concorde Bakery closed all its retail stores and shifted the business entirely into a wholesale bakery. In 2005, the third generation of the family assumed management of La Concorde Bakery, and currently remain in this position.
In 2017, needing additional space for growing demand, La Concorde Bakery bought a second factory in Linbro Business Park. This enabled them to service not only the entire Gauteng region but also the surrounding provinces, solidifying their position as the market leader in the South African wholesale bakery industry.
La Concorde Bakery is the embodiment of tradition. Although the family has always remained faithful to La Concorde Bakery’s heritage, they have never stopped adapting, innovating, and opening new chapters in their story. Seeing the transformation of the small family business into an industry giant over the last 55 years has been humbling, and yet the best is still to come. The next decade will see a new chapter of the story being written, in which La Concorde Bakery will once again redefine the South African food and bakery experience.