He may not be able to move mountains but Peter spends �900,000 on moving onions from Walpole to Wisbech
BUSINESSMAN Peter Lonsdale is confident he knows his onions after splashing out �900,000 on acquiring a 30,000 square feet redundant factory in Wisbech.
Mr Lonsdale, managing director of Freshpeel Produce Ltd of Walpole Cross Keys near Kings Lynn, is now in the process of moving his onion business lock, stock and barrel into Wisbech.
It will double in size the company’s capacity which currently handles 150 tonnes of processed onions a week.
“It may seem a lot of money but we were going to spend more than half that on staying where we were,” he said.
“Besides by re locating our business from the middle of a village – which is not ideal- it will stop the neighbours from complaining. The business has grown in recent years and the extra space is needed.”
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So pleased was he when he inspected the former Greenvale potato factory in Boleness Road that he had found the right place he began improvements even before the final sale was agreed.
“We looked at buying it several months ago and we’ve been in there a while developing the site at our own risk,” he said.
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Freshpeel is looking to start production within a fortnight and the current work force of 36 will increase as extra shifts are introduced.
Mr Lonsdale is proud of a work force- drawn from Peterborough, Boston and Kings Lynn- and of the fact some have been with the company since it was started by his father in law, Bob Jones 40 years ago.
The company was founded by Mr Jones who ran it as a sole trader before changing to Freshpeel Produce Ltd 13 years ago: Mr Jones was active in the business right up until his death two years ago at the age of 82.
“The company never had borrowings in the past but business has changed and been restructured,” he said. “Bob ran it as a family business and never much worried about it making a profit so long as people had a job.”
William Rose of Savills Peterborough commercial agency team added: “There are few food factories currently on the market and, following Greenvale’s auction of the food manufacturing equipment at this site; we are pleased to complete the sale to Freshpeel. We wish them every success in the future.”