Thirty jobs have been saved at O’Donnell’s Bakery, which went into liquidation in January. It is now under new management.
Despite fears of job losses at the award-winning bakery in Laghey, 15 jobs at the bakery and those of 15 bread agents have now been secured.
A former O’Donnell’s Bakery employee, Mark Kelly along with bread agent, Andrew McElhinney made an offer for the business as a going concern after it went into liquidation.
Andrew told the Democrat: “It feels a bit weird to be one of the owners of the bakery,after being their agent for six years. It does feel strange to have bought bread from them and now own the bakery. But the way I looked at it was, if I didn’t do this, then I might have been out of business as well.”
The new management quickly got O’Donnell’s products back on the shelves and the shops were eager to take on the well-established brand. The company is now acquiring nationwide contracts and is also looking to diversify its range of products.
Andrew says the pair are very optimistic about the company’s future. “Mark and I knew that the quality was still there - the staff are all very highly skilled and experienced and the quality is still there in the products, which have won so many awards.”
There’s certainly an element of local pride as well, since Andrew lives in Drumlask, between Laghey and Donegal Town. And, of course, professional pride too, especially because Mark, who is from Ardara, has been a baker for 25 years, and with O’Donnells for the last eight.
Andrew also said that although there was a lapse during the Christmas period, since the bakery has got up and running again the demand for their products and the support that they are getting from the community has been excellent. “We’re doing the full range of products, including the rustic wheaten bread which won a Gold Star in the ‘BrownBread – No Additives’ category of the UK Fine Food Guild Awards.
“Every day people come up to us and congratulate us on keeping the business open.
“We’re supplying the same agents and every week we’re regaining customers. We’ve also introduced a new range of pastries and cakes and the response to that has been very encouraging so far. Our goal for the next 12 months is to keep on rebuilding our relationships with our customers and we hope that, within the next twelve months, we will be able to take on more staff.”