Age and where from: Joanne is 50 something, from Grasmere (born in Kendal) and now living in south Cumbria with husband Andrew (see below) and family.
Role in business: She worked for many years in marketing, tourism and event management before moving into the family business and now jointly manages The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop with special responsibility for marketing, PR, retail, personnel and training. She initiated the website, mail order and online shop.
About her: Joanne is the mother of three children; Yasmine 25, Eden Rose 20 and Eamont 17. Juggling work and family commitments keeps her on her toes but she enjoys the various demands and pressures that her dual role brings. In her spare time she loves cooking, visiting the cinema and catching up on Coronation Street.
Most interesting happening at work: Working with TV companies and celebrities visiting The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.
How does she like to eat gingerbread: with freshly brewed coffee and slightly warmed in the oven. She particularly relishes Sarah Nelson's Ginger Parfait.
Age and where from: Andrew, is younger than Joanne but still 50 something! Originally from Sunderland but spent a lot of his working life in the Middle East.
Role in business: Andrew is the original ‘Gingerbread Man’ and the sole mixer of all the secret ingredients that go into Grasmere Gingerbread. He manages the bakery and shop.
About him: Before marrying Joanne, Andrew worked and lived in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Egypt and Dubai. His working life in Grasmere is very different to what went before but he loves the business and meeting and greeting visitors from all over the world. His passions outside work are his wife, children, fast cars, good food, reading and golf.
Most interesting happening at work: Every day brings new challenges!
How does he like to eat gingerbread: Simply on its own.
Age and where from: just 40ish, originally from Derbyshire.
Role in business: Bakery Manager
Time in business: May 2012 and settled in very nicely!
About: Lived in Grasmere for 18 years with his wife Joanna and two children; Samuel and Sadie. Passion for food and enjoys spice so working here is perfect! Also loves music; listening and playing guitar and has a collection of them all with the name of “Betsy”! Says he fits in well with the bakery staff as they all drink whiskey and bourbon and he enjoys a wee dram – not while working we hope!
Most interesting happening at work: Being filmed for several TV shows.
How does he like to eat gingerbread: He likes lots of it with a massive brew.
Age and where from: 46 from Windermere, originally from Lancashire.
Role in business: Bakery Assistant, but you will see him in the shop too.
Time in business: Since September 2015
About: Interested in all things aviation – he use to fly helicopters in Canada! But here he fly’s’ radio controlled ones! He is also learning to play the Bluegrass Banjo – hope he can do some busking outside the shop. He loves the outdoors as is a keen walker and cyclist and cycles to work each day. Enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels and spending time with his two nephews. How does he fit in time to work?
Most interesting happening at work: He has enjoyed having the TV crews in.
How does he like to eat gingerbread: On its own with a cup of tea, and he does that quite a lot when he is here!
Age and where from: 57, Windermere born and bred.
Role in business: Shop Supervisor
Time in business: Since August 2021
About: The Lake District is in Ann’s DNA. Having lived in Windermere all her life she appreciates all the wonderful opportunities it offers, especially walking through spectacular scenery. A keen baker who loves spending time with her young grandsons.
Most interesting happening at work: No TV appearances so far but she is overwhelmed that after a long wait queuing outside customers are really happy to see her.
How does she like to eat gingerbread: After she gets home from work, she puts her feet up to savour a slice or two with a mug of Sarah Nelson’s Comfort Coffee.
Age and where from: A sprightly 60 something, lives in Grasmere, born in Ambleside, but 3 generations of family from Grasmere.
Role in business: Part-time Baker
Time in business: 25 years – although recently semi-retired.
About: Likes walking Lake District fells with dogs. Gardening, Chelsea FC, Red wine and malt whisky – but not in the same glass! Doesn’t like long queues of traffic, chewing gum and cigarette ends on pavement outside shop when he has to clean it up!
Most interesting happening at work: Filming with Jilly Goolden for BBC Food and Drink programme.
How does he like to eat gingerbread: With a nice glass of malt whisky in front of a log fire on a cold winter’s night.
Age and where from: nearly ready for retirement, lives in Grasmere and has done for the last 27 years. Originally from Yorkshire and always a Yorkshire man!
Role in business: Baker and Chief Rum Butter maker – Steve’s Rum Butter making won Gold in ‘The Great Taste Awards 2002’.
Time in business: 30 years! Although recently semi-retired. Read more here.
About: Steve is a true family man – a real man about home and enjoys DIY, when he is looking for solitude – loves fishing in the Lakes.
Most interesting happening at work: Meeting Dave Hill from pop group ‘Slade’!
How does he like to eat gingerbread: With a nice cup of tea! A true Yorkshire man!
Age and where from: 30 something, born and bred Grasmerian.
Role in business: General Assistant
Time in business: Started in autumn 2015, left after the floods but returned to shore in June 2016.
About: Lee has always worked in catering and enjoys great food and drink. Loves football and supports Arsenal, he also likes to travel and is engaged to a Bulgarian so is leaning the language. Free time is not so free... music, skiing and snowboarding, watching action and horror films, playing snooker and pool, and for downtime – fishing.
Most interesting happening at work: As a fan of award-winning ITV soap Emmerdale, Lee was starstruck when one of his favourite characters Dan Spencer – played by actor Liam Fox – strolled into the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. ‘He was great, chatty, friendly and he bought two large packets of gingerbread to take home,’ said Lee. ‘I acknowledged him because I love Emmerdale and I have watched it for years.’ Liam actually played a policeman in the show before landing the part of Dan Spencer, and the actor has also appeared on the cobbles of Coronation Street.
How does he like to eat gingerbread: ‘On its own making sure every piece is as fabulous as the last!’ Loves to dip it into chocolate too.
Age and where from: 27 and a Geordie at heart as she was born in Newcastle and supports ‘The Toon’ but now lives in chic Lytham.
Role in business: Marketing Manager
Time in business: Forever! As a baby and toddler her mother Joanne would have her on the stand at shows so we think all the ginger aroma she inhaled got into her blood! Yasmine began doing outside events from the age of 15 and in the summer holidays she worked in the shop serving customers and helping out behind-the-scenes.
About: Very family-orientated. Enjoys the odd afternoon of retail therapy (i.e. shopping), the odd evening of cocktails with friends (i.e. drinking) and being waited on at dining tables in lovely restaurants (i.e. eating).
Most interesting happening at work: Meeting TV impressionist Rory Bremner who convinced her that her GCSE results were fabulous even though she was crying her eyes out at the time (drama queen!).
How does she like to eat gingerbread: Surreptitiously pinching the tasters from events – makes it even more exciting knowing she shouldn’t be eating them!
Age and where from: 49 and 52 weeks years old but feels 88. Jane lives in the beautiful Matterdale valley high up in the hills, but in the winter it should be re-named Alcatraz because once inside you can’t get out.
Role in business: Finance & HR Manager
Time in business: Since 2016
About: When not at Grasmere Gingerbread®, she works at home with her husband on the family farm. She enjoys ‘being outdoors, having a catch-up with friends over a nice meal, retail therapy and spa days’.
Most interesting happening at work: Jane enjoys swapping her farm wellies for high heels to enjoy the Grasmere Gingerbread® social life and parties with colleagues. She was thrilled to be at the dinner table when Grasmere Gingerbread® table won a prestigious family business award.
How does she like to eat gingerbread: Straight out of the oven with a mug of latte. Jane claims she loves Grasmere Gingerbread® so much she no longer fits into her favourite size 10 frock (but she is a daydreamer and her eyes reading labels aren’t what they used to be).
Age and where from: 60 from Kendal.
Role in business: Part-time Bakery Assistant
Time in business: Since Summer 2021
About: A dedicated family man who is ‘living the dream’ since retiring as a Business Specialist and Branch Manager for a high street bank for 40 years. Enjoys everything that the region has to offer. A keen football supporter (Manchester United) and loves kicking a ball around with his grandchildren.
Most interesting happening at work: Being on the BBC programme ‘See Hear’. Loves listening to customers ‘crack’ from behind the scenes. Enjoys the banter and friendly team atmosphere.
How does he like to eat gingerbread: With a brew but likes a cheeky amount crumbled over vanilla ice-cream.
Age and where from: 50 something, lives in Kendal.
Role in business: Dispatch Manager
Time in business: Since January 2021
About: Originally from Burnley in Lancashire. Headed south to the bright lights of London intending to stay for a year or two but eventually stayed for 3 decades. Returned to the north in 2019 for a better quality of life and also to get to know and enjoy the fantastic landscapes of Cumbria.
Most interesting happening at work: Getting to see behind the scenes and realising how far and wide Grasmere Gingerbread® travels.
How does she like to eat gingerbread: Anytime, anyplace, anywhere! But in particular enjoying it gently warmed with a mug of hot chocolate and surrounded by friends.
Age and where from: 39, from somewhere down south.
Role in business: Baker
Time in business: Since February 2023
Most interesting happening at work:
How does he like to eat gingerbread:
Age and where from: 46, originally from Lancashire, moved to Windermere in 1997.
Role in business: General Assistant
Time in business: Since Summer 2021
About: Lives in Windermere with his lovely wife Lisa and 2 boys Harrison and Samuel. After living in Canada as a young boy he felt drawn back to the Lakes but still enjoys ice hockey, American football and is a Toronto Maple Leaf and Chicago Bears Fan. He loves walking and cycling so much so he cycles everyday to and from work.
Most interesting happening at work: Working with his twin brother Steven, being on TV and loves it when he is in the shop and listening to all the lovely stories about people visiting the shop when they were children.
How does he like to eat gingerbread: Loves it with custard and ice-cream, every day at work on his tea and coffee break, even takes it with him on long bike rides.
Age and where from: 56, originally from Devon but resident in Cockermouth
Role in business: General Assistant
Time in business: Since May 2022
About: Having grown up in beautiful Devon, Emma loves the Cumbrian countryside and she takes off for long walks to go birdwatching.
Most interesting happening at work: Being in another shop in Grasmere and meeting one of our mail order customers in the queue.
How does she like to eat gingerbread: As a treat at the end of each day.
Age and where from: 50 plus, Cumbrian born and bred.
Role in business: Our very own ‘Girl Friday’, who comes in as and when required and does a little bit of everything. In fact, she says she feels like Mr Benn as she never knows what outfit she will be wearing when she comes into work.
Time in business: Another ‘new girl’ who joined us in late 2021.
About: Married with four children living remotely on Shap Fell which has a climate all of its own. Enjoys baking and anything ‘crafty’. Likes going to the cinema but her real passion is attending live theatre.
Most interesting happening at work: Working in mail order and sending a parcel to the other side of the world.
How does she like to eat gingerbread: Fresh out of the oven with her daily latte.
Age and where from: 29, from Windermere
Role in business: Stock and Procurement Manager
Time in business: Since June 2022
About: Born and bred in Windermere, Matthew loves all things sport related (playing or watching) so he has a very understanding partner and young son, although he loves family time at home. As a coffee connoisseur he loves to head off on walks and discovering local cafes where he can partake of his favourite beverage. He and his partner are expecting another baby towards the end of 2022.
Most interesting happening at work: As a relative newbie, Matthew continues to be amazed by how long the queue can reach outside the shop. He reckons it is worth the wait for the smell of ginger alone.
How does he like to eat gingerbread: Cheekily straight out of the oven and at his desk…a fabulous perk of the job.
Age and where from: 35, originally from Slovakia but now living in Grasmere.
Role in business: Mail Order Assistant - Packer
Time in business: Since September 2017 and new Mum in November 2021 to baby Frederick.
About: She is very lively and always full on energy which she needs for a full day behind the counter and walking her dog every evening. Miroslava loves great movies, books and, of course, food and drink – a trait she shares with everyone who works at the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. In 2017 she married a native Cumbrian who is actually related to owners Joanne and Andrew Hunter. Welcome to the family!
Most interesting happening at work: Every day is different and it’s always great fun meeting so many happy people from all over the world.
How does she like to eat gingerbread: The simplest way with a steaming cup of freshly-brewed coffee.
Age and where from: 57, from Windermere
Role in business: Shop Assistant (part-time)
Time in business: Since April 2022
About: Julie has lived in Windermere all her life and loves her home environment. Enjoying such a strong sense of place perhaps helps to explain why she is always smiling. She is married had three sons and loves spending time with her grandsons Bobby and Ronnie.
Most interesting happening at work: Enjoys meeting all the different customers from across the world.
How does she like to eat her gingerbread: Warm and spread with rum butter.
Age and where from: 27, from North Cumbria
Role in business: Social Media & Digital Executive
Time in business: Since June 2022
About: Molly was born and raised in Cumbria, then moved to Alaska in 2019 to study a Masters in Biological Sciences. However, Molly is very creative, and her real passion lies in domestic science and during the Covid lockdown she rediscovered her love of baking and photography. Upon returning home to the county this summer, Molly successfully applied to Grasmere Gingerbread® and positively relishes her new role. It also enables her in her spare time to go hiking and camping with her puppy Rowan. The team not only benefit from her wonderful baking but she also creates exciting dishes incorporating Grasmere Gingerbread®. Molly has discovered that there really is no place like home.
Most interesting happening at work: Seeing her photographs featured in Cumbria Life magazine after shooting them at a live cookery demo at work.
How does she like to eat her gingerbread: Sitting outside her tent at sunrise with a steaming mug of coffee.