ANGUS Provost Ruth Leslie Melville last Friday visited Mackays of Arbroath to meet chairman Paul Grant MBE, the current Angus Ambassador of the Year 2011.
“There are few who have taken the message of what Angus has to offer to such a large audience, in all corners of the globe,” said the Provost.
“Paul Grant is passionate about Angus, a passion he shares with others wherever he may be in the world,” continued the Provost, who chaired the panel of judges which selected Paul as Angus Ambassador of the Year 2011. “He has proved himself as a highly successful businessman, community leader and communicator which, combined with his natural flair and charisma, has led to a win-win situation for our county.”
Paul explained to the Provost that, when his family bought Mackays Ltd in 1995, the marmalade and jam making company had 19 employees and a turnover of less than £1 million. “We now have 135 employees, a turnover of £12.5 million and fill 14 million jars a year!” Paul revealed. “We’re a significant employer in Arbroath, with potential to grow – and to give even more back to the community.”
As Paul showed the Provost round the factory, which is in Arbroath’s Kirkton Industrial Estate, he explained why he believes it’s so important for businesses to be closely involved in the community in which they are located.
“Thanks to our commitment to Arbroath and to Angus, we’ve gained a good reputation as a business and an employer, which is further enhanced by our community involvement,” said Paul, who recently handed over the day-to-day running of Mackays to his son Martin, although he retains a close involvement with the business.
As part of the company’s commitment to the community, Mackays has a policy of assisting the long-term unemployed to return to work, is a corporate sponsor of the Angus Centre for Enterprise, and uses local ingredients whenever possible.
“Last year, we bought 400 tons of local soft fruit – this year, we hope to buy even more,” said Paul. “Having ‘Scottish strawberries’, ‘Scottish raspberries’ or ‘Scottish blackberries’ on the label makes all the difference when selling jam so buying freshly-picked soft fruit from local businesses is highly worthwhile for Mackays and for Angus soft fruit growers.”
As well as Mackays jams, curds, preserves and marmalades, the firm also produces, chutneys, relishes and condiments and has its own fine food brand, ‘Mrs Bridges’.
“The Mackays brand is available on supermarket shelves across the UK and we export the Mackays and Mrs Bridges brands to over 50 countries worldwide, including China, where Mrs Bridges’ sweets have proved popular,” said Paul, who added that Mackays has just received a large order from Ukraine, a new market for the company.
The Provost revealed to Paul that, during the Angus Ambassador of the Year Award judging process, the judges were impressed by his support of the local community and people, as well as his strong sense of corporate responsibility.
“It was such an honour to be named Angus Ambassador of the Year,” replied Paul. “In addition, this award has been highly beneficial to Mackays as it’s considerably boosted our profile. To be presented with this unique award is a wonderful acknowledgement that Mackays’ commitment to the people, produce and county of Angus is truly appreciated.”