Manufacturing firm with 61-year history enters administration

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A Leeds manufacturing business which makes fryers for the fish and chip shop industry has entered administration due to the harsh trading conditions and a loss of customer confidence.

Hopkins Catering, which has been run by the Hopkins family for 61 years, closed its doors on Wednesday. Managing director Victoria Hopkins, the third generation of the family business who has worked in the industry for around 20 years, said that they had been looking to rescue the business. Hopkins Catering was put on the market a couple of weeks ago but a buyer pulled out of the process earlier this week.

This led to administrators PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co being appointed administrators on Wednesday and the firm closing its doors, with all 55 staff members losing their jobs.

Talking to TheBusinessDesk.com, Hopkins said the firm had been operating in extremely tough trading conditions during the last year. She said: “We deal with the food service industry and retail; the high street is seeing shops and restaurants closing down all the time. The industry is distressed and customer margins are being squeezed.

“We supply the fish and chip industry and there has been a terrible potato crop this year, so their margins are just being squeezed all the time.”

She added that with external pressures including Brexit, the firm’s customers were “holding off making purchasing decisions.”

Victoria Hopkins

Hopkins is incredibly passionate about the Yorkshire manufacturing industry and is a spearhead for inspiring the next generation of people into the sector.

She said: “I am just devastated. Wednesday was the worst day of my life. These people are my family. And it’s not just the job I do, but also the work I have done with the UTC and the manufacturing alliance.

“This is not just a job, it’s a way of life; it’s a legacy.”

Hopkins praised the support and reaction of the staff when they were informed of the closure. She said: “It was just phenomenal really. There was no anger or resentment.”

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