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Family firm is forced to close down

J&I Smith Bakers, J&I Smith Bakers Ltd
J&I Smith Bakers, J&I Smith Bakers Ltd

A FIFTY-year-old business – built by three generations of the founding family – which had a pie-making business in Whitehills has closed down.

Staff at J&I Smith Bakers Ltd were stunned by the news. Workers were called to a meeting at lunchtime and others learned they no longer had jobs later in the day.

Monday was pay day for the staff of more than 60, but a letter from the administrators told them that the company was not in a position to pay them.

The firm had its bakery, head office and two shops in Huntly, and also had shops in Keith and Dufftown.

Directors of the business, which became a limited company in 2013, were its founder John Smith and his wife Isabella, and their son, also John, and his wife Janette.

Neil Dempsey of Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP who was appointed as administrator said the company had been suffering a financial downturn in the past 12 months, with rising costs and squeezed margins resulting in severe cashflow issues.

Mr Dempsey added: "Attempts to cut overheads and improve cashflow had minimal success, which left the directors with no option but to place the company into administration.

"All of the company's trading locations have closed, with all 64 staff made redundant."

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