The story of a family company is rarely a narrative in a straight line. The Linwoods we see today, which produces a range of healthy seeds, nuts, and berries, was born after its managing director John Woods suffered a health problem in 1996.
The Armagh-based company has roots that go a lot further back. In 1965 it started out as a small shop and it is now run by its third generation of the founding family.
Over the years it has grown to include a haulage, bakery and dairy business.
"Between 1969-75 I started a transport [business]. Drawing to all parts of Europe, mostly drawing meat from Ireland," says Mr Woods, who is now approaching his 80th birthday.
"During 1969-75 we had been very busy on transport, doing quite well."
Delivering bread may sound innocuous, although it was anything but normal back in that time.
"We lost 25 vehicles, burned and hijacked and robbed….that was the madness that was going on in Northern Ireland," says Mr Woods.
By 1975 he had quit the transport business, owing "a lot of money" and said he could have been bankrupt but "my creditors gave me five years to pay my debt".
He started clocking up "100 hours a week during 1975-81".
"I remember getting my first holiday in seven years, I went with the local Armagh football team to the US, and standing in San Francisco and saying 'my goodness, I'm 41 and I am worth nothing, but I have a lot of experience, a lot of energy, a lot of determination and if I get time, I'll make it work.'"
The company continued importing and delivering bread, and the business grew to 70 delivery vehicles. It was a wholesaler in the 1980s, and also had a dairy business. It then moved to processing and manufacturing dairy and bread.
It was in 1996 that John Woods had a health setback that changed his approach to business. The company says that a 'Eureka' moment led to the transformation of the firm's business model so that by 2002 it had transitioned to health and nutrition.
The bread and dairy businesses would both be sold off by 2019.
"We weren't making money for the last three years in the bakery and dairy because both products had moved to become loss leaders in NI. We were severely impacted by the lack of margin and it was affecting our future as a company.
"And we decided to sell both businesses, which we did in both 2018 and 2019, and therefore we stopped all our fleet of vehicles, paid off people."
"We had an empty dairy and an empty bakery with all the equipment sold, so what do we do with that? However, we had a factory in Armagh, which had been progressing rapidly…building a brand of Linwoods Health Foods," he says.
From being price takers in bread and dairy, the family business now was in a position to be price makers, benefiting from first mover advantage in the rapidly expanding health food sector.
It is not just John Woods' own health issues that have made this a very personal journey - he is one of 10 children.
"I could see this food had a holistic benefit. I did have a reasonable interest because in our family, my siblings, six of them have had heart bypasses and, or heart operations including myself," he said.
"You can debate for a week, if you want, whether it was genetic, whether it was food, or whether it was the changeover to ultra-processed food, we will never know, it doesn't matter."
Since the launch of the health foods business, which today employs 100 people, the company has experienced 20% growth for "many, many years, as quick as we can educate people on the product".
As a result, he says the company is extending its factory "for the third, maybe fourth time in 20 years".
When it comes to the benefits of health foods, the message is "coming out slowly".
"It's great to see that there are so many new nutritionists popping up who are really vocal and articulate, able to let people know [about healthy food]. It's the new religion really."
These days Linwoods products can be found in major supermarkets like Sainsbury's and Waitrose.
In the early days the difficulty was buyers for supermarkets, "one had very little time, two were not educated about health foods, three they didn't know where to put us and four, they hadn't a clue whether it would sell or not".
Linwoods last year invested £500,000 on improving its brand, including designing a new logo and packaging. In 2020, it also purchased a food business called Chia Bia.
Linwoods intends to keep Chia Bia, which has listings in Holland and Barrett, SuperValu and Dunnes Stores, as a separate brand.
With the company based in Armagh and selling both in the Republic and the UK, Brexit would appear to be a potential pitfall. However, years of importing raw materials for their products means the company is "well used to customs papers".
"And therefore, it was no big shock that there was something had to be done differently.
"We already had taken adequate courses, our current financial director had ensured that he knew and was on top of it, and two or three of our staff who fill things out for other countries were on top of it if the issues arose, so we were prepared adequately," he says.
Like many family businesses, issues around succession have to be addressed. The three Woods children, Patrick, Joe, and Ellen, all work for Linwoods.
With Mr Woods senior set to turn 80 at his next birthday, he says it's "kind of half time to think about it [succession] at this stage".
Any discussion or debate about the future of the company is something he would prefer took place now rather than later.
"I joined the Family Business Network in Dublin and was able to take good guidance and could see a direction ahead.
"I put in place the necessary arrangements going forward and they know it, I give total transparency with my family to say: 'this is what happens' because I would rather have a row in my presence than have it after I die," he explains.
"Myself and my wife own the business and we have said it is being offloaded on a phased basis subject to performance, durability et cetera while they are, all three of them, over 30."
"It is a limited company, and they will hold shares in the company, and one person will be selected," he adds.
"The key point is that I have watched it work quite well in generations where they have a good working relationship…
"I just believe that it is the mindset that you set, either the business runs on conflict or a business runs on harmony."
For Mr Woods, who has lived through enough conflict, harmony is something that he holds very dear.
While handing over the reins of Linwoods is something Mr Woods acknowledges he needs to at least "half" think about, it is clear he has no plans to slow down any time soon.
The walking and GAA enthusiast plans to celebrate his milestone birthday by going skiing once "we are allowed to leave this beautiful island".