Caribbean Flavour in the Community; RETAIL

Article excerpt

Byline: NICKHOWARD

A Jamaican food company in Birmingham has received a 'pattie' on the back for its work in the community.

Cleone Foods, which when it launched in 1989 at a small building in Aston had fewer than 10 employees and produced around 100 patties a day, now turns over pounds 2.5 million, employs 48 staff and has seen a sales growth of 318 percent over seven years.

And the Jamaican pattie producer looks set to go from strength to strength after winning the 'Impact on Society Award' for a small company category of the regional round of the national BITC awards ahead of 305 other competitors.

Jamaican-born Managing Director Wade Lyn launched Island Delight patties - the Caribbean favourite and Jamaican equivalent to the English pastie - in response to the growth of Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities across England.

Mr Lyn moved Cleone Foods to its Icknield Street premises in 1994 and now, thanks to help from Business Link West Midlands (BLWM), the company has invested pounds 400,000 in new staff and equipment.

He said: "We started working with BLWM in 2003 when we were able to access a range of marketing support which really helped secure a firmer footing in the supermarkets we were dealing with.

"We're now in all the major supermarkets dotted around the country. We're not only in stores near highly populated Afro-Caribbean communities; we've got a strong Asian following too as we do a Halal pattie. …