53 jobs lost as Coalisland fruit and vegetable business closes
Fifty-three workers have been made redundant at an 80-year-old fruit and vegetable business outside Coalisland as it closes due to external pressures facing the retail trade.
Management at Quinfresh, which was established by James J Quinn and is located at Ballynakelly Road, met with staff to advise them of the job losses.
Proprietor Peter Quinn said the business was forced to close due to external pressures including sourcing produce, rising production expenses and "an increasingly competitive local market has created conditions which have made our business unsustainable".
He said: "I have had 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 Co 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."
He added: "I want to pay tribute to all the staff and my family, not one of whom could have done more to avoid this sad day."
SDLP Mid Ulster councillor Malachy Quinn described the closure as "devastating news". 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.
"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."