About Us

James Asher, the great-grandfather of the present managing directors, Alister & George Asher, established "James Asher & Son" in 1877 at 3 Bridge St, Nairn. He was succeeded by his son Alexander George (Alister) Asher who managed the business until his death in 1945. His wife, Mary continued to run the business through difficult times with the help of her family and eventually youngest son James at the age of 14 joined her full-time in 1947.

Under his management, 10 years later the "Coffee Room" was opened and 3 years after that in 1960, the "West End Bakery" was taken over. It became known as the "Top Shop".

"Fletchers Bakery" was next to go in 1961 and is presently used as a garage. 2 years later "Cummings" shop, which adjoined the bakery, was acquired and the bakery was extended. This is now the site of the despatch area.

In 1969 the business moved into Inverness with the very shrewd acquisition of "Edgar's Bakery" in Church St. The bakery was converted into "The Oven Door" tea-room, now called "The Church St Coffee House".
In 1978 "Forrest's Bakery" on Forres High St. became the 4th shop and in 1984 "James Asher & Son" won the right to operate the instore bakery at the new CWS Superstore at Inshes, Inverness. This was somewhat of a diversification for "Ashers" but proved very worthwhile with sales increasing rapidly in the first years of trade. Alister Asher joined the business in 1988 to be followed 4 years later by elder brother George. That year the business was restructured and became 'Ashers Bakery Ltd'.

April 1993 saw the conversion of the old "Coffee Room" into a new confectionery department while the kitchen that served it became a centralised sandwich & prep area. The coffee shop was moved downstairs next to the shop and the offices were moved across the A96! A product lift was installed, a staff canteen was introduced and various other improvements were carried out. With this extra capacity, 'Ashers' were able to open their 6th branch, moving into Elgin for the first time. The shop, which belonged to "Ralph's", occupied a prime, though small (280-sq.ft) site at 150 High St. and was opened in September 1993.

In 1996 James Asher took over a 2-year charge as Chairman of the prestigious British Confectionery Association. 1997 saw the conversion of the bakery (that had lain unused for seven years) behind the Forres shop to a tea-room. The central feature was an old "Scotch Oven", still in working condition, dating from the turn of the last century. This was our 3rd tea-room to have been converted from a bakery.

On the 14th of May 1998 our 7th branch was opened in Aviemore, nearly 40 miles away. The shop, which used to be a full working bakery, was geared towards takeaway in the redeveloping tourist resort.

In 1999 Ashers Bakery achieved "Investors in People"status demonstrating a commitment to training & developing their staff in line with clear company objectives.

In January 2000, Asher's Whisky Cakes, launched the previous October won the Scottish Gift of the Year Award.
In July 2000, Ashers were named as one of 3 finalists in the British Baker of the Year Award.
In December 2000 the Co-op sold Inshes to Tesco and Ashers lost one of their best outlets. This was compensated somewhat by being able to supply other CWS stores in the area. We then invested in a 'sandwich van' that went round selling hot savouries and cold sandwiches to various offices and factories in Inverness.

In February 2002, Ashers moved to a new £600,000 production facility on Balmakeith Industrial Estate. The 13,000-ft sq. building was purchased from Scot-trak in March 2000. Tullochs carried out the internal work, which took around 4 months. They also bought the old bakery with the intention of demolishing it and turning it into flats. Princess Anne officially opened the bakery on October 15th 2002.
In August 2002 Ashers moved even further away from home with the opening of a shop in the busy fishing port of Buckie.
In March 2003 Ashers opened a modern Café and 'kiosk' at the new Inverness Bus Station.
One month later, the original shop on Bridge St closed and relocated to 40 High St, Nairn.

In February 2007 in anticipation of the city centre redevelopment in Inverness, Ashers opened their 9th shop in Lombard St, the first with the new Ashers branding that was soon to be recognised throughout all the Ashers shops, vehicles, packaging, signage & online media

In April 2007, they took over Smillie the Baker, the longest established bakery in Elgin and their 3 shops [2 in Elgin, 1 in Lossiemouth] took the total up to 12.

In June 2007, Asher's new range of liqueur cakes won the 'Made in the UK' Gift of the Year Award.

Ashers entered the social media network generation by joining Facebook in January 2012.

In March 2012, Ashers won its first significant export order of whisky cakes to Andersen's Bakery in China.

In June 2012, Ashers opened their 2nd Speyside shop at 6 High St, Grantown-on-Spey, 15 years after opening in Aviemore.

In March 2013, the St Giles shop was refitted shortly before Ashers took over the centre's flagship 120 seat cafe in May. In September Ashers were runners-up for the 2nd time in the British Baker of the Year Award. Later that month they started to supply Scotland largest independent Co-operative, ScotMid.

In May 2014, Ashers Bakery won the 3rd 'Scottish Baker of the Year'

The company as it stands is one of the leading retail bakers in the North of Scotland and the present Directors {Alister & George Asher} are committed to continuing the expansion and improvements in quality & service that were the hallmarks of James Asher & Son.