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‘Emotional’ decision as Johnston family put Armagh bakery on market

Couple aiming to enjoy slower pace of life in retirement

Johnston's Bakery

One of Armagh’s best-known family businesses is up for sale.

Johnston’s Bakery in Scotch Street, which was established 75 years ago, has gone on the market as a going concern.

The business, which is run by husband and wife Alan and Hilary Johnston and their son James, employs a total of 26 staff.

Hilary said that while it has been an emotional decision and one they have taken “with a heavy heart”, the time is right for her and Alan to retire and enjoy a slower pace of life.

“It is a full-time job and Alan, especially, never stops,” she said. “We have a daughter and five grandchildren and it will be nice to have more time for ourselves and to spend more time with them as well.”

The business, which has always been in the same location, was established by Alan’s parents William John and Mabel in 1952.

They originally opened it as a grocery shop and after a period of time decided to start making their own bread.

Alan and his brother David joined their parents in the shop and after David died in 2000, Hilary left her teaching job three years later to support her husband in the business.

Another generation entered the business when James, now aged 40, left school at the age of 17 and began working there.

For 40 years, the business also ran a coffee shop, but after the Covid-19 pandemic, the family decided not to reopen it, as part of their winding down for retirement plans.

All the bread, cakes and pastries are hand-baked on the premises and the business also provides wholesale goods for a number of local supermarkets.

Said Hilary: “We would like to thank the people of Armagh and beyond for their support down the years.”

Related: Bring Humpy the Camel back to city centre spot!

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