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EXPANDING Tullamore bakery Simpli-Baked will double its capacity and create up to 15 new jobs.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

EXPANDING Tullamore bakery Simpli-Baked will double its capacity and create up to 15 new jobs. thumbnail

Kieran Walsh, owner of the Cloncollig-based tortilla wrap and pizza base baker, announced the growth plan last Friday during a visit by presidential candidate Gavin Duffy.
He confirmed a second production line will be installed at the Flatbread Company premises.
“We make 70 million wraps a year currently and by the end of next year we will double it to 140 million wraps a year," said Mr Walsh.
As well as the Irish market, Simpli-Baked ships product to the UK, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland and Germany.
The company will celebrate the ten-year anniversary of its foundation next year.
Mr Walsh, a native of Limerick who lives in Co Meath, first established Simpl-Baked, The Flatbread Company, in an industrial unit in Clara but that premises was hit by a fire in 2015.
He believes a fire in the oven spread to a conveyor belt and the blaze resulted in the company ceasing production.
However, a new premises was located in Tullamore and it is large enough for up to four lines of production.
Mr Walsh, whose family background was in baking, said Clara was the "best fit" when he first decided to get into the tortilla and pizza bread market, and he decided to maintain his production centre in Offaly.
“There's good infrastructure by road, we're an hour from Dublin. We don't have the competition for labour that you have in Dublin," said Mr Walsh.
“I have to say when the fire happened we could have moved to the UK but the council here were exceptional. The amount of help we got from the council here was unbelievable."
Simpli-Baked has also responded positively to the threat of Britain, formerly its biggest international customer, leaving the European Union.
“Two years ago we were about 80 per cent sterling but because of the Brexit impact we pursued non-UK contracts and it worked and we've grown the total business by over 20 per cent," he said.
Today, the company's revenues are split 50-50 between sterling and the euro and he attributes the increased European business to "knocking on doors and shoe leather".
“People buy from people they trust. When we meet with a customer generally it takes nine months to convert them from first introduction to a sale," he said.
“They generally order again the week after and the week after so it's a repeat business. It really is about building the trust and making sure they're happy with the product."
He added: "We're the only ones making flour tortillas in Ireland so that helps."
A total of 46 people currently work at the facility, which runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Efficiencies resulting from the second line will enable a five-day operation but as many as 60 employees will be required when the new system is up and running fully.

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