The property at 8 Market Place, Holt, was built in 1631, the date set in the west gable. It has continuously served the area as a shop since 1730 or thereabouts, with the involvement of the Baker family beginning in the 1760's or 1770's. The offer to our customers went through several incarnations before developing into the multifaceted emporium of today: Blacksmith, Brewer, Builders' Merchant, Ironmonger, Plumbers to mention but a few, and expanded throughout the period.
On 22 November 1900 the firm was incorporated as CT Baker Ltd.
By 1958, having survived two World Wars, the Company employed 29 staff and was heavily into agricultural supplies. With the untimely death of Mr Jimmy Baker, the Managing Director, the next 15 years saw a period of decline, culminating in the near sale of the family business. However, the 70s witnessed a turnaround with a new generation coming onto the Board, Michael Baker (7th generation) a Chartered Chemical Engineer, decided he would return to Norfolk (previously based in Portsmouth) to reinvigorate the 200 year old family business.
Rebuilding started in 1976 and in 1977 the Larner’s store was bought. By the mid 80's the south side of the grade III listed Market Place had been rebuilt, including the excavation of 2000 sq.ft. of wine cellar from the glacial deposits forming the Holt/Cromer Ridge.
In 1989 R Edmonds & Son, a builders' merchant in Stalham and North Walsham was purchased. In 2000, the builders’ merchants business which was situated at the back of the main premises at 8 Market Place was moved to the industrial estate off the Hempstead Road, Holt.
During the 1980's and 1990's development on the Market Place site continued. Approaching the Millennium the Company split into the 2 divisions of Retailing and Builders Merchants.
2004 saw the acquisition of Betty (Holt) Ltd, a department store at the other end of the town specialising in Clothing, Home Furnishings and Furniture. Home Furnishing and Furniture still remain, the clothing department was relocated to the main store.
In September 2006 the Stalham Builders’ Merchant moved into a purpose built depot on Staithe Road.
In 2007 the supermarket, Budgens of Holt was added to the Group offering local products from local suppliers to local people. In November 2011 a major extension took place which now makes us the largest Budgens store nationally.
In April 2011 www.bakersandlarners.co.uk was launched, the website allows customers to buy any of the thousands of items that are displayed online, knowing that they will receive the same personal service which they would receive instore.
On 15 March 2013 a fourth builders’ merchants was added to the division. A purpose built building of 4000 sq.ft was erected on a just over one acre site in Aylsham.
May 2013 saw www.ctbaker.co.uk launched, providing current and potential new customers with all the information they may need about all four of our Builders’ Merchant branches.
July 2013 saw the start of our CT Baker Group Twitter and Facebook Campaign.
On 7 August 2013, a website was also launched for Budgens, www.budgensofholt.co.uk, allowing customers to keep up to date with the latest offers, see and see our local suppliers.
Our latest addition to the group is Budgens of Aylsham which was incorporated on 10th September 2013.
Michael Baker died in July 2019, his legacy of 45 years working tirelessly as Managing Director has been to revive the fortunes of the Bakers & Larners Department store in Holt and put the town on the map. The CT Baker group now has a turnover of approximately £20m and employs a dedicated team of over 275 staff within the three divisions, Department Store, Builders’ Merchants and Budgens Supermarkets in Aylsham and Holt.
Current Board Chairman and Acting Managing Director, Jane Gurney-Read leads the business with the support of the Baker family, including 8th and 9th generation members.
CT Baker Group is celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2020. It has commited to raising £25,000 for East Anglia's Children's Hospices to support local children and their families.
Bakers & Larners of Holt, having closed in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, reopened its doors on Monday 15 June 2020.