Cushendall-based Glens of Antrim Potatoes has expanded with a second factory and new packaging machinery in a £1.25 million investment with potential to create five more jobs. Established by the McKillop family in 1972 the firm is the largest employer in the Glens area with more than 60 staff and is currently exporting its products across Great Britain and Ireland to a large multi-national client base. Part of the investment was funded by Danske Bank and a PMG Grant Scheme from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) as the firm sets its sights on Europe.
“In 2009 we first opened a 25,000 square feet storage and production unit in Ballymena,” said director Michael McKillop. “Since then we have experienced exceptional growth and have completed stage two of our development plans by opening a second 21,000 square feet unit and purchasing new packaging machinery. We grow new varieties of potatoes each year and spend time researching the best use for them and their cooking abilities.
“For the last year we have been developing a new quad pack product that we will be launching in the autumn. The pack is unique in that it sits upright on the shelf making the information clearer to read and the pack less likely to fall over. Our new varieties will go into these packs detailing the best use for them.” Outlining the company’s future ambition,s he said it was eager to develop beyond the British Isles.
“We want to break into the European market and further afield. We are looking at developing different types of packaging and varieties to target different markets as well as producing microwavable products. Danske Bank have been very supportive of our expansion plans and have been there whenever we have needed advice.”
Roger Hamilton, business manager at Danske Bank said it was delighted to be backing a business with a clear strategy.