Fruit and veg supplier to close after 44 years in St Andrews

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A fruit and veg wholesaler which has served the people of St Andrews and the East Neuk for 44 years has announced it will close at the end of this month.

John Birrell & Sons which supplies fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables to businesses in the area and also has a shop in the town’s South Street, is run by Andrew and Lynn Birrell.

This is the hardest decision we have had to make

On social media it described the move to close the business as “the hardest decision we have had to make,” and put it down to changes in the town and “an influx of eating places using out of town suppliers.”

Lynn said: “There are always new restaurants opening in St Andrews and many are using suppliers from elsewhere. We recently lost a big contract because we just can’t compete with the bigger competition.”

She said the business employed ten staff.

“We will be merging with Ivan Wood & Sons of Ballingry which is a bigger firm than ourselves and which can carry a lot more than us.

“It is very sad that it has come to this,” she added.

Councillor Dorothea Morrison, who represents the area on Fife Council, said: “It is very sad when businesses that have been going so long are closing.

“One of the things I will be trying to get my colleagues involved in, on the basis of comments from shop owners in the area, is that it is a more difficult part of the town for retailers to thrive.

“I want to see if we can get officers along to a meeting with merchants to see if there’s something we can do to help.

“Parking is another issue we have been trying to help with, and there’s a report coming to the Council’s Executive Committee next week on that.

“We want to try to make life as easy as we can for businesses to thrive in St Andrews.”

Customers expressed their sadness on Facebook.

Lindsay Adam said: “Sad to hear this news as I rely on Birrell’s for quality veg and great seasonal local rasps and strawberries.”

Margaret Jack added: “This is indeed a sad day for St Andrews. I have shopped there since I first got married. Wishing the Birrell family all the best in future.”