Morrow poised to blossom in export markets

Bessbrook-based T Morrow & Sons is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to expand its sales and portfolio of cut flowers in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

The company specialises in the production of all-year-round flower crops for retail multiples in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland and currently sells 90 per cent of its output to clients in these markets.

Assistance to grow its business further in these markets was announced by Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food and Tourism Director, during a visit to the company, which has been in business since 1938. During the visit he was briefed about its growth plans by David Morrow, the owner and managing director since 1987.

The business employs seven people and operates from a 10 acre site outside Bessbrook, Co Armagh which includes seven greenhouses and a number of packing houses.

Mr Mawhinney said: “This is a progressive company with a successful track record of sales outside Northern Ireland and is an excellent example of an entrepreneurial business with a sharp focus on exports.

“Our assistance has enabled the company to strengthen its marketing team and activities including participation in trade shows, particularly in Great Britain, and also to secure the important British Ornamental Plant Producers (BOPP) quality accreditation being required by multiple retailers in particular. We provided financial support and guidance to help the company achieve BOPP accreditation.

“BOPP certification assures buyers that the company’s produce is of a high quality, meeting legal and environmental requirements. The BOPP Standard is a UKAS accredited Scheme based on the British Retail Consortium Standards. In addition, the company is streamlining its production systems to increase efficiency, reduce waste and thereby to strengthen its overall competitiveness,” he added.

Mr Morrow, outlining the company’s plans, said: “We’ve identified opportunities to strengthen our existing business with a key customer in the Republic of Ireland, currently our biggest market and one that’s immensely important to us, and also to grow sales substantially in the British market.

“To ensure success in Britain, we are focusing resources on developing our market knowledge and a network of key contacts through desk research and attendance at the most important trade shows and exhibitions. As a result, we are now closer to both fast moving markets and able to spot trends and requirements quicker as they develop.

“Invest NI’s support for activities there and to secure the essential BOPP accreditation has been invaluable. We’ve strengthened our quality control and marketing management and are positioned for faster growth in Great Britain and the Republic.

“The assistance is also enabling us to explore opportunities to widen our portfolio by investigating new flower varieties and production techniques in the Netherland and the US for customers in the Republic and Britain, as well as in Northern Ireland,” added Mr Morrow.

Products grown by the company include lilies, antirrhinum, tulips, scented stock, gladioli and bloom chrysanthemum. The flowers are cut, rested, wrapped, labelled and packed in sleeves for retail. Around 90 per cent of the produce is exported, transported to established customers in the Republic of Ireland and in Britain.

Invest NI has offered the company assistance of £13,800 towards the overall costs of this business expansion of £31,820.