Wallace Bakers – Brief History








Journeyman baker, David Wallace married Jane McHardy in Arbroath in 1860. In 1861, they had a son James McHardy Wallace (JMW). The family moved to New York where JMW, whilst running a bakery, met and married Elizabeth Murdoch. JMW and Elizabeth had 5 children while in the USA but returned in the late 1890’s following the premature death of father, David. After returning home they had another 4 children with all of the family becoming involved in the baking trade with seven separate Wallace bakeries existing at one time! The best known and longest surviving were “Wallace Family Bakers” and “The Auld Dundee Pie Shop”.

In the late 1940’s, following the tragic death of brother David on the steps of the bakery, Andrew Wallace took over Wallace Family Bakers and renamed it “Wallace Land o’ Cakes”. As other members of the family emigrated and some moved into the licensed trade, it was left to Andrew and cousin David to fly the flag with Land o’ Cakes and the Auld Dundee Pie Shop. In the 1960’s, Andrew’s nephews (Peter Fisher and James McHardy Wallace) became part of the management team and in the next twenty years the business enjoyed a golden spell due to near full employment in Dundee and the introduction of wholesale vans to go with the successful 12 retail outlets. In the late 60’s the Auld Dundee Pie Shop closed down with the retirement of Mr. Wallace and this also contributed to the boom in sales for Wallace Land o’ Cakes. In the 1970’s, Andrew Wallace passed away. By this time, James’ and Peters’ sons (John and Wallace) joined the firm and began to learn the trade with a view to taking over the business from their fathers.

As Peter and James were phasing themselves out in the late 80’s, Wallace Fisher had made early inroads into the supermarket business with the supply of pies and bridies into William Low Stores in Dundee and district. As this side of the business began to grow, it became patently obvious that the premises were not up to the standard required to take the business forward. Some serious thinking was needed to be done.

In 1995 a new structure was implemented with Rona Morrow, Mike Norman and Mac Hutchison joining the firm in sales, technical and production roles. They had worked together for Sara Lee in England and would have the expertise to facilitate the move to new premises and break into the supermarket sector in a bigger way. By this time, Alan Fisher (Wallace’s brother) had joined the sales team after moving from the transport department. New premises were sourced in Faraday Street, Dundee and the new team had some early success with orders secured with Tesco and Asda. Disaster struck in 1996 when the BSE crisis wiped the sales in half and almost resulted in the postponement of the move to Faraday Street due to lack of funds. The move went ahead but despite a reasonable level of turnover, the company was struggling with cash flow problems and the amount of investment needed to make the supermarket business a success. A group of outside investors (known collectively as Braveheart) were invited into the business but despite their best efforts, the receiver was called in the following year. A deal was done with a Dundee bakery, Balgray, who specialised in rolls but were looking to break into the savoury market. Meanwhile, Wallace Fisher and production manager Jake Hutchison had left to form Wallace Fisher Ltd in Miln Street. Within 6 months, they were joined by Alan Fisher and following Wallace Fisher’s retirement, the business was renamed Wallace Family Bakers. Wallace Family Bakers obviously attracted many of their old customers back and Balgray soon found themselves in financial trouble and were bought over by Mcintosh of Dyce.

As Wallace Family Bakers grew from strength to strength, Wallace’s continued to struggle and Mcintosh, as a group, went into administration. It was at this time that Wallace Family Bakers, under the stewardship of Alan Fisher and Jake Hutchison, bought over wholesale bakery goods delivery company Kingsway Bakers, and moved into the old Keiller factory in Mains Loan Dundee. Gwen Fisher (Alan’s sister) joined the company on the tele-sales team. The time there, however, was to prove to be unsuccessful as a severe price war, competition from a new asian bakery in the city and the pressure to pay off debts incurred during the move, put the company in financial trouble. Like history repeating itself, the company looked for outside investment and found it in the form of local businessmen Scott Carnegie and Alan Dand. After a promising start during which local baker David Barrie was bought over and retained on the staff, persistent production problems and the ongoing costs of a crumbling factory again saw the company looking into the abyss.

In March 2008, a deal was done with D. McGhee & Sons to take over the business. McGhees was a large family bakery based in Glasgow who were looking for a stronghold in the East coast of Scotland and Wallace’s, with their strong branding, fitted the bill perfectly. The company, continuing under the Wallace brand, has consolidated and grown sales in the region and are now a major supplier to the NHS, Spar and the schools and colleges. Alan & Gwen Fisher continue to work in the business and are delighted that one of the oldest names in baking continues to flourish.