This week #madeinsandwell Monday is serving up Manor Abbey Foods, a Cradley Heath business supplying frozen, chilled and ambient food to schools, cafés and businesses across the region.
Manor Abbey Foods is a tight-knit company of three people, led by managing director Paul Wrighton, who started the business in December 2000. Just four months later it nearly fell victim to the crisis in agriculture caused by the nationwide outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. But Paul persevered, literally walking the streets to promote the business and diversifying into food service.
Manor Abbey Foods survived and, seventeen years later, is going strong. Renowned for its range of high-quality coated chicken products, its product list also includes a variety of raw and cooked meats, battered, breaded and plain fish products, potato and bread products, cheese products, sandwich fillings, cakes, desserts, pies, pasties and quiches.
As well as serving members of the public, the company uses temperature-controlled vehicles to supply local organisations that include Sandwell Academy, George Salter Academy and Sandwell Valley Crematorium. Paul is particularly proud of the team’s recent win of a two-year tender to supply Sandwell Valley Country Park.
Paul is a registered tutor for the Royal Society of Health, helping others achieve Level 2 and Level 3 certificates in Food Hygiene. His plan for the future is to grow the business in order to take on more staff and deliver to more customers across the region and neighbouring counties.
The company has been based in Sandwell for over ten years, and Paul has no plans to change that.
“Sandwell is a lovely place to have a business,” he said. “Its diversity of trades is unique and there are continual improvements to the area.”
Sandwell Council is currently working with Manor Abbey Foods to help the business access training opportunities and sources of funding and recruit a sales and marketing assistant, as well as helping the company undergo an energy audit.
“There are great opportunities for growth in the borough,” said Paul, “given the right support and a little bit of luck.”
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