The owners of Staffordshire catering equipment distributor TT Catering have expressed their gratitude to suppliers after officially completing the formalities of closing the company this week.
Belinda Taylor and Kevin Turner took the decision to shut the operation in January this year after a sudden downturn in project spend from their main pub sector client left the business in jeopardy.
Although they battled for several months to continue trading, they eventually decided to exit the business and pay creditors in full rather than risk being unable to meet their debts further down the line.
It has taken 10 months for the wind-down process to be concluded, but all suppliers have now been paid in full and with interest on the amounts due as they promised.
The pair said they were immensely grateful for all of the support they have received throughout the course of this year and paid tribute to their former staff members and suppliers.
“We would like to thank all suppliers for their patience during the last 10 months, and for their kind emails offering support during what was an upsetting time for us,” said Taylor. “TT grew from nothing into an award-winning company and we never let go of our moral and professional standards.
“It would have been easy to compromise our beliefs and follow the route our main client was dictating under their new regime, however we both felt we needed to be true to ourselves and walk away while our finances were still intact, therefore not inflicting losses on our suppliers.”
Turner added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal and professional staff members whose support was akin to family, our suppliers for their patience while events of this past year have unfolded and their faith shown in agreeing to my role as chair to the liquidation process.
“This itself gave a glimmer of respectability when only one creditor attended the creditors’ meeting and who, when invited to ask questions regarding the process, commented, ‘I’m only here to support Belinda and Kevin’ — quite a moment in what is a most uncomfortable of experiences and one you would certainly not wish upon anyone.”
Reflecting on the change in fortunes at the start of the year, Turner said that shutting the company, which employed 16 people, was the “hardest of business decisions”.
“It would have been possible to have limped along for maybe four or five months in the hope that events would have turned around and that we could have retained our position as a company that truly performed, however it was the creditors’ faith shown to us over the past decade that was most at risk, and one we were not prepared to gamble,” he said.
“Having ensured that all creditors would be paid in full we made the decision to close and keep in tack on a personnel level our business statement.”
Taylor added that in a more buoyant market TT might have been able to continue and pursue new clients, but at the time it found most companies were remaining loyal to their existing suppliers in the recession.
However, she insists they bore no grudges. “We had a wonderful 11 years, we were blessed with loyal and conscientious staff, and enjoyed amazing relationships with suppliers. We offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has crossed our paths over this time and made our lives richer for the experience.”
Since exiting the business, the pair have taken the opportunity to pursue interests outside of the industry.
Belinda decided to take a career break and make the most of the chance to read, walk and travel, including trips to Spain to renew her knowledge of Spanish.
Kevin has been helping other businesses of late, but admits his hobby of training Labrador Retrievers for the sporting field has forced its way to the top of his agenda! He also contributes to a local organisation that advises young people who have been excluded from mainstream education.