A County Tyrone supplier of fresh fruit and vegetables to the local wholescale, manufacturing, catering and retail industry is to close after almost 80 years in business with the loss of 53 jobs.
Coalisalnd-based Quinfresh management met with staff this morning to advise them of the workforce wide redundancies.
Proprietor, Peter Quinn, explained the adverse trading environment which forced his decision: “The escalating costs of sourcing produce, rising production expenses and an increasingly competitive local market has created conditions which have made our business unsustainable.
"I have no choice but to make this extremely difficult decision and close our operation here in Coalisland.
“We have worked hard and been innovative, introducing new product lines in prepared convenience foods, working seven days a week, and achieving British Retail Consortium Global Standards certificate in best practices for the food and manufacturing industries.
“Despite all of this and the unstinting efforts of our loyal and dedicated staff the trading situation in the end overwhelmed us.
"This business has not just been a livelihood for four generations of my own family but also for countless other County Tyrone families down through the years, with long standing relationships with local growers and producers. I do not underestimate the terrible blow this will be for families in our area.
“I want to pay tribute to all the staff and to my family, not one of whom could have done more to avoid this very sad day”.
SDLP Mid Ulster Councillor Malachy Quinn said the closure of Quinfresh is devastating news for Coalisland and the 53 people who will lose their jobs.
He said: “Quinfresh has been a big local name for the last 80 years in Coalisland. The family has nurtured the company and provided good jobs for local people for a long time. News that they’re to close their doors is devastating.
“I will be speaking to company management today and to workers affected by the announcement. This is a significant blow for Coalisland and we have to do all we can to ensure further opportunities are made available for the staff in the immediate future.”