A CHANCE meeting on holiday during Pesach six years ago has resulted in the Manchester and Whitefield branches of State Fayre Bakery changing hands.
The company had been in the Tobias and Rosenfield families since its formation in 1905.
Robert Rosenfield, whose great-grandfather, a Polish immigrant, opened Tobias Bakers in Bignor Street Cheetham, met fellow Mancunian Yitzi Stefansky at an Italian hotel in 2011.
Robert, during their chats, mentioned that he had thought of selling State Fayre which he had taken over from his father, Jeff Rosenfield, some years earlier.
The conversation remained at the back of his mind.The germ of a business plan was born when Yehuda mentioned it to Yitzi last November, having raised the possibility of a takeover with Robert earlier in the year.
Yitzi and Yehuda have extensive experience in the retail and wholesale kosher food trade and became close friends through it.
Jerusalem - born Yehuda, 32, spent two years in wholesale and 11 in retail.
Educated at Prestwich Jewish Day School (now Yesoiday Hatorah) and Jewish Grammar School (now Mesivta), he went on to gain a degree in Chinese medicine at Salford University before entering the kosher food market.
He is married to Shiri and has two children, Ilana, 8, and Dovi, 4.
Yitzi, 30, who is married to Malki, with two children, Tali, 6, and Shelly, 3, spent eight years in wholesale kosher food.
He actually used to pass State Fayre’s Middleton Road branch every day on his way to the nearby Etz Chaim School.
He said: “I’ve always been interested in manufacturing and spent a lot of time going into bakeries.”
Yehuda insisted: “Nothing is going to change — only the ownership. We have long term plans, but there is no need to change what is already there.”
He added that the entire package, including the coffee shop, appealed to himself and Yitzi.
They will continue to supply Sainsburys and Booths, among other outlets, as well as the communities in Leeds and Liverpool.
Robert, who will remain for a period in a consultancy role, said: “I’m here to support the guys for a time. I wish them well.
“I’ve done it for 20 years and I’m looking forward to having a weekend off.”
Robert’s father, Jeff, initially moved premises from Bignor Street to Sunnybank before opening a bakery in Empire Street, Cheetham.
He then took over the State Fayre supermarket in Bury Old Road, Prestwich, operating from there and from Middleton Road.
He eventually opted to use the latter premises only.
Robert expanded the business to a second site in Park Lane, Whitefield, with its own coffee shop.
Jeff died in September after a short illness.