For whom the Bell tolls. By Alistair Craig.
Bell Tea confirmed yesterday it will begin winding down
its Dunedin operation next month, ending a more than 100-year
connection with the city.
Bell Tea and Coffee Co chief executive Mark Hamilton, who
informed the factory's 10 staff of its plan on Monday last
week, returned to Dunedin yesterday to confirm that following
consultation the company was going ahead with its plan.
The decision to shut the Dunedin factory and move machinery
to its Auckland operation was due to the estimated $1
million-plus cost of earthquake strengthening and other work
required at the building.
Mr Hamilton said yesterday it would progressively shut the
Dunedin factory from April 4, with the last machinery
expected to be removed before June.
''We've said to the guys today that our objective is that, by
the time we close the plant, that they all have jobs to go
to,'' he said.
Two staff had expressed an interest in taking jobs at its
Auckland factory and other staff would be helped into
possible work at Foodstuffs' distribution centre in
Christchurch or at Pak'n Save and New World supermarkets in
After last week's meeting, yesterday's news was not
unexpected for staff.
''The staff were disappointed, but not surprised today,'' Mr
The Bell Tea and Coffee Co was founded by Norman Harper Bell,
who was born in Melbourne and gained his expertise in the tea
industry with the Robus Tea Co.
He arrived in Dunedin in 1894 and joined R. Wilson and Co. In
1898, the trademark Bell Tea was registered.
In 1905, he bought Bell Tea and other trademarks and Mr Bell
and two new partners started trading as the Bell Tea and