Happy Pear loses 39% of workforce due to pandemic shutdown

Food business will not reopen in Dublin Airport or Clondalkin

Businesses created by The Happy Pear twins David and Stephen Flynn have lost 39 per cent of their workforce due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Happy Pear outlets at Dublin Airport and Clondalkin shut down during the first Covid-19 lockdown and will not reopen, while a third site at the Shoreline leisure centre in Greystones, Co Wicklow, remains closed but with plans to reopen when restrictions are loosened. The brand’s flagship operation on Church Road, Greystones, continues to operate with restrictions.

New accounts show that pre-Covid, Flynn & Flynn Global Trade Ltd recorded revenues of €9.5 million in 2019 and employed 118 at the end of that year.

However, finance director with The Happy Pear, Paul Murphy said on Friday: "As a result of the significant impact of Covid-19 we were forced to restructure our business and now have 72 active employees."


He added: “However, we hope this number will grow in 2021 upon the reopening of our Shoreline site and the return of normal trade in our Church Road site in Greystones.”

Mr Murphy confirmed that “neither the Clondalkin or airport sites will reopen as our lease agreements have now been concluded”.

Revenue figures for 2020 are not yet available but Mr Murphy said the business had been profitable at an operating level for the last six months of 2020.

One highlight for the business last year was the success from the company’s online courses, as 30,000 students signed up for the The Happy Pear’s suite of health and cookery courses.

“The online courses have grown significantly in recent years and now represent a core part of our business,” said Mr Murphy. In 2019, revenues from ancillary activities – mainly online courses – totalled €843,000, with this more than doubling in 2020, he added.

Expansion costs

The new accounts show that continued expansion costs in 2019 resulted in Flynn and Flynn Global Trade Ltd recording a post-tax loss of €463,137.

This represented a 31 per cent decrease on the €672,970 loss recorded for 2018.

The 2019 loss takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €214,025.

Mr Murphy said the business had expanded the offering at The Happy Pear’s site in Greystones “through the installation of a new organic artisan sourdough bakery, which has been very popular with locals”.

He also noted that towards the end of 2019, the company “commenced a structural review and commenced negotiations in respect of a licence agreement with Musgrave”.

These negotiations have since been concluded, seeing The Happy Pear enter into a long-term partnership where Musgrave has acquired responsibility for producing, distributing and marketing all The Happy Pear packaged retail products for the island of Ireland.

It also means The Happy Pear and Musgrave “will co-operate in researching and activating international markets globally”, Mr Murphy said.

As part of the licence agreement, The Happy Pear will continue to produce its in-house retail products for Musgrave under a long-term supplier agreement, but other packaged retail products previously produced by outside contractors for The Happy Pear will now be managed directly by Musgrave.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times