A BUSINESSMAN who has opened a Cornish pasty store in Bridgwater says he is heading for Taunton.

James Tucker opened a franchise of Warrens Bakery in Cornhill earlier today (Monday).

And he says his next store will be in the county town.

The company, which claims to be the world's oldest Cornish pasty maker, is looking to expand nationally as it celebrates it 177th anniversary.

Mr Tucker said: "With Warrens I know where the product comes from – something that is important to me – and I can follow its journey all the way from production to the first delicious bite.

"Knowing that Warrens still use the same fresh, local ingredients and hand-crafted skills for every product really sets them apart from any other bakery.”

Warrens Bakery chairman Mark Sullivan said: “With the rise in popularity of craft bakery and British baking, we are delighted that we will be able to share our recipes and award-winning sweet and savoury bakes with even more customers in Bridgwater.

"We are immensely proud of our heritage and it is extremely important to us as we grow to do so with experienced and trusted partners.

"James is a prime example of that and, with a track record of running and launching several successful businesses in the area, we are looking forward to working with him in expanding our portfolio of stores in the region.

"We have big expansion plans in the region, with 20 stores over the next five years and can’t wait to build on our partnership and greet customers who may be more used to seeing our stores when holidaying down by the Cornish coast.”

Mr Tucker added: “I’ve been visiting Warrens stores whilst on holiday in Cornwall for as long as I can remember, so was already familiar with the brand and its premium quality before hearing about the franchise opportunity.

"With Bridgwater being both my home town and the base of our business, it presented the ideal opportunity for our first store.

"I believe there is a real gap in the market here for a premium bakery like Warrens – a store that both offers traditional, local quality and, for many in this part of the country, evokes memories of wonderful holidays to Cornwall.

“Warrens Bakery brings a strong brand with excellent scalability to our portfolio.

"Scalability is something I look for in any business opportunity – in particular, the potential to take a strong, high quality and recognisable brand and expand it across our local market.

"Our next store will be Taunton and we are excited to grow the Warrens brand across Somerset.”