The Broadways Bakery was established by two brothers, Sobhagchand Shah, and Ratilal Shah, in 1958 as a scones bakery, generating 45,000 scones each day.
Broadways Bakery has undergone substantial growth since its establishment. As of 2015, it had the capacity to produce up to 170,000 loaves of bread each day and achieved an impressive annual revenue of approximately Sh 6 billion.
When the Shah brothers started Broadways Bakery, they operated three single-deck ovens in a small facility in Thika and sold scones locally and as far as Kitui.
The business grew as two other brothers joined, and in 1968, the siblings partnered with Unga Limited for distribution.
Unga Limited used to produce Elliot’s bread, which the Shah brothers distributed with three vehicles at the time.
The Shah brothers observed an increase in demand for bread, and after their distribution partnership with Unga Limited ended in 1977, they decided to establish their own bread factory.
They purchased a four-acre plot of land and installed a bread-making facility for Sh 15 million, which they borrowed from Barclays Bank.
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The previous collaboration with Unga proved to be extremely beneficial to Broadways as it gave them the exposure they needed and helped them develop a distribution network that was advantageous when their bread hit the market.
Broadways’ production capacity at the time was 70,000 loaves of bread per day, and it had a workforce of 100.
By 2015, the factory had a maximum capacity of 240,000 loaves per day, and the bakery employed 500 people. It had 75 trucks that were used to distribute its bread brands across the country through a network of 250 distributors.
Broadways source wheat both from Kenyan farmers and imports from the USA, Canada, Argentina, Russia, and Australia, which it also sells to mini-bakeries in Thika, Nairobi, and its environs.
The company’s bread brands include New Seneta, Broadways Premium, Broadways Sliced White (the most popular), Sandwich Bread, and Broadways Sandwich Bread.
Broadways has not been relying solely on the bread business. The group has since the 1980s been operating Bakex Millers Limited, a wheat flour miller located close to the main bakery.
Bakex mills about 250 tonnes of flour per day and sells two wheat flour brands, Oboma and Vitafla.
The family also sold off Broadway Steel Limited, a subsidiary they had operated for a decade and which used to manufacture nails and steel in 2010. The divestiture saw Broadways earn Sh 35 million, which was ploughed back into the bread business.
The Broadways Group also comprises Albizzia Downs Estate Limited, a real estate subsidiary.
The company sold 50 acres of land in Thika to Safaricom to set up a Sh 3 billion M-Pesa Academy to accommodate 1,000 needy students.
Albizzia Downs also sold 100 acres of land to Oshwal Community, on which the charity plans to build the Oshwal University complex at about Sh. 3 billion.