Operating from Breaffy near Castlebar, Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd is a successful family-run business specialising in prepared vegetables and priding itself on being the leading fruit and vegetable wholesaler in Connacht.
Established in 1986 by Eamon and Mary Lavin, Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd has grown to employ 46 staff and runs a fleet of almost 20 vehicles. The founders are joined in the business by their children Michael (sales manager), Thomas (purchasing manager) and Marilyn (accounts manager). The company recently extended its premises, which is located next door to the famous Breaffy House Resort, to cater for its ever-expanding customer-base.
Sourcing and supplying fresh quality produce at the right price, a willingness to move with the times and to add new lines and products combined with sheer hard work have been key factors in the Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd success story. Prior to setting up the business, Eamon Lavin had worked with Western Farming Co-Op for 17 years, during which time he purchased a 17-acre farm in Keelogues, near Ballyvary in Co. Mayo. With money tight, he couldn’t afford to stock the land so instead planted an acre of carrots which he sold to local shops and butchers, using a cement mixer with a specially-fitted grid to wash the carrots.
After being made redundant by Western Farming Co-Op, Eamon decided to invest every penny he had in getting his fruit and veg enterprise off the ground. He replaced the family car with a van and bought his first load of fruit and vegetables in Galway. The business initially enjoyed steady growth, but then hit a sticky patch as the emergence of large multinational supermarkets impacted on sales to local shops. Eamon knew that in order to survive, he would have to diversify and so came up with the idea of supplying prepared vegetables.
With just his family by his side, he started peeling potatoes, carrots and other vegetables. The hard work soon paid off when the Lavin’s were awarded the HSE contract to supply all the hospitals in the Mayo area. The business was later awarded the contract for hospitals in Galway and Roscommon as well, and still supplies the same hospitals to this day.
As the business grew, Eamon purchased the land around the family home and developed preparation rooms, a wholesale store, offices and warehousing on a one-acre site in the shadow of a windmill, which was erected in 2012. In 2013, Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd acquired a local rival company, retaining all staff and customers. By combining the two companies, Eamon has succeeded in providing his customers – new and old – with an even better value service.
Offering a seven-day-a-week service to a customer-base of around 400, including retail shops, factories, hotels, nursing homes, restaurants and schools, Eamon understands the needs of his customers and realises that the services sector relies on this level of service in order to operate efficiently. Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd has become synonymous with the preparation of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, cabbage and swedes. It also produces vegetable mixes such as stir fry mixes and soup mixes, which can be prepared to customer specifications. All of Lavin’s prepared vegetables are prepared and distributed on the same day, guaranteeing the freshest and best quality produce to their customers.
The preparation room adheres to the highest hygiene standards, incorporating the HACCP system designed and developed specifically for Lavin’s. This is reflected in the quality of the produce. In a recent audit carried out by Sodexho, the company scored a very respectable 98 per cent.
The Co. Mayo firm supplies a wide range of whole vegetables, fruits and exotics, sourcing as much as possible form local growers and also importing fruit and vegetables of the highest quality from all over Europe. Among its Irish suppliers are potato growers Ned English (Cork), Tom Stamp (Wexford) and Slaney Farms (Wexford), parsnip grower John Thorne (Dublin), mushroom grower Gerry Reilly (Westmeath) and carrot grower Gilfresh Produce (Armagh).
Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd has introduced organic fruits and vegetables as well as other products such as Baldwin & Co health supplements; Super foods, including wheat grass, Bee pollen and Chlorella; seeds such as Chia seeds, Gojo Berries, linseed and flax seeds; grains and cereals such as quinoa, couscous, amaranth and buckwheat; oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, argan oil, linseed oil and olive oil.
At Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd, they take great pride in being a family-run business and strive to ensure that their customers enjoy the benefits of this, receiving high-quality wholesome fresh fruit and vegetables with a flexible, professional and courteous service.
The Lavin family would like to take this opportunity to thank their customers, suppliers and staff for their support and loyalty.
Lavin’s Fruit & Veg Ltd
Telephone: 094 9023238
Fax: 094 9023564
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 6 No 5, August 2018