Heaven's Bakery began as a dream of a young boy growing up in Waipukurau. He knew he wanted to make something of himself, so in 1963 Graham Heaven began his apprenticeship with Doug Dunn at Dunns Home Cookery in Havelock North.
After Graham had finished his apprenticeship of five years he went on to work for Peter Barnes at Barnes Bakery in Mahora, Hastings. Then one day while driving through Taradale on the way to a family function he saw the possible potential in the area. So in 1974, Graham, with his wife Denise, bought a small shop and there began the first Heaven's Bakery.
In 1978 after travelling overseas, Denise and Graham saw the concept of "The Hot Bread Shop". After returning they bought the Meeanee Road site and established Hawkes Bays first "Heaven's Hot Bread Shop". It was open 7 days a week and offered fresh hot bread straight from the oven. Many weekend mornings saw queues of people outside the doors waiting to get their loaf of fresh hot bread.
Graham was never a man to sit back and enjoy what he had already established, so a few years later Denise and Graham opened an outlet in the Napier D.I.C. store. This store offered cakes, bread and deli food, which was a novelty at the time. After a change of ownership of the store, Heaven's Bakery moved into Civic Court.
Over the years Denise and Graham opened several other outlet stores within the Napier area. One of which was in Greenmeadows and this is now where our "state of the art" bakery is situated. During these years Denise and Graham's sons became involved in the business. Denise and Graham's eldest son, Jason, began an apprenticeship and later on went on to run the cake and finishing side of the business. Their younger son, Shane, was in charge of deliveries and maintenance around the shops.
In 1997 Jason Heaven and his wife Leanne opened their own shop in Marewa. This was the first Heaven's Bakery and cafe and the fifth Heavens store. With the new store Jason was able to put his own business ideas and systems into place, which prepared them for the amalgamation of all five stores in 2000.
Jason Heaven took over as Managing Director mid 2000, which meant that Graham was then able to focus more on his passion of training and encouraging young people into the exciting and creative industry of baking. Graham now works for a New Zealand training organisation called Skill 4 Work, where he is involved as an assessor/coach for New Zealand's up and coming bakers. He enjoys sharing his vast knowledge and skills with these apprentices. Graham continues to develop and push himself just as he did when he was building up Heaven's Bakery.
In 2003 the family built a new bakery in Greenmeadows which brought together the two previous baking sites in Taradale. This enables Jason to keep a close eye on the running of the bakehouse and the stock involved in producing the products for five busy shops. All product is baked fresh at this site and dispatched to all five stores twice daily beginning at 6am each morning, seven days a week, 364 days a year. Throughout New Zealand and Australia, bakers come to visit this efficient bakery to discuss and admire its features and systems that have been developed by Jason.
Just as his father, Jason is also not one to sit back and rest, so in 2004 he and the family decided it was time to refurbish the original store in the main street of Taradale. It was gutted and the old bakehouse was removed and refitted and opened as a modern bakery and cafe. Heaven's Bakery still wanted to hold onto being a family oriented bakery and so within the new Cafe, they included a childrens play area and television, along with wide accessible walkways for those with large pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. New products were developed and a deli counter installed to provide light meals for customers to eat in or takeaway.
In August 2006 Heaven's Bakery opened their sixth store in Napier's Central Business District - Emerson Street. Heaven's Bakery felt that the city had many good cafes but none that catered to the family. So just like the revamped Taradale store they modelled their Emerson Street store the same, with wide walkways and a child friendly environment. This has been well received by holidays makers and locals alike. Emerson Street is also Heaven's first franchise store. Heaven's were eager to welcome to the team Gavin and Mandy Smith as the owners of this new and exciting store.
Heaven's Bakery is always looking at moving with the times and developing products, skills and the company as a whole.
Now with Jason and Leanne's four children growing up, there may be a third generation of bakers in the mist, you just never can tell.