Two Northern Ireland firms among fastest growing in the UK

Newry food-to-go firm Around Noon has been named in the prestigious Sunday Times Fast Track 100. Pictured are chief executive Gareth Chambers, left, and executive chef David Graham
Gareth McKeown

NEWRY-based food-to-go firmAround Noon has been announced as one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK.

The business, which employs over 300 people mainly in Newry and acquired a London business earlier this year, has been named in the prestigious Sunday Times Fast Track 100.

Around Noon is one of just two companies who made the list, and sit alongside Newry fit-out firm Mac-interiors in the league table. The latter was 59th in the list, in recognition of over 1,000 projects completed in the past 15 years. In October the Mac-group secured an £11 million contract to refurbish Belfast's River House into premium grade A office space. Specialist in the construction, refurbishment and fit-out of office space and commercial buildings, they are transforming the 14-storey office block on High Street, supporting 160 jobs for the duration of the project.

Around Noon appeared at number 72 in the listing, with sales having grown over 54 percent on average per year over the past three years. The business was established in 1989 at home around the kitchen table by husband and wife Francis and Sheila Chambers. The Co Down-based firm is now run by their son, Gareth, 32, chief executive, and chairman Howard Farquhar, 59, after the pair led a management buyout in 2016, when sales hit £14.4 milliom. Since then it has acquired Sweet Things bakery and Slough-based Chef in a Box, both for undisclosed sums. Today the firm helps makes almost 25 million lunches a year, with sandwiches, wraps, salads and cold pressed juices are among the products produced by this company under its Scribbles brand

Around Noon CEO Gareth Chambers said they were "very pleased" to be named alongside a wide range of outstanding companies from across the UK.

"Over the past three years, we have developed our business very significantly, including adding some great clients, acquiring other companies, and expanding our business with existing customers. Being included in the listing is great recognition for our team who continue to put huge effort into further developing and growing Around Noon.”

Around Noon's customers include blue-chip brands like Starbucks, Henderson Group and Insomnia Coffee company.

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