Death of Pat Quinn, founder of Quinnsworth

 

THE DEATH has taken place in Toronto of Pat Quinn, founder of the Quinnsworth chain and one of the country’s best-known business figures in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr Quinn, who moved to Canada in the mid-1980s, ran a pub and restaurant group with a number of his sons and was a well-known figure in the Irish-Canadian community.

From Cloone in Co Leitrim, he went to Canada and spent five years learning the grocery trade while also doing some promoting. Among the acts he brought to Canada were Johnny Cash and, for their first visit to Canada, the Rolling Stones.

He came back to Ireland in 1965 and Quinnsworth began in the Stillorgan shopping centre in Dublin in December 1966. He came to be regarded as the whizz kid of the Irish grocery business. By 1971 he had six stores and a turnover of £6 million.

The stores depended heavily on Mr Quinn’s flamboyant personality – he had a strong belief in advertising in which he participated himself. At the time the fledging Quinnsworth’s main competitors were Dunnes Stores, Superquinn, H Williams, Liptons and Five Star. He invented the phrase “yellow pack” for his cut-price brand.

In the early 1970s, Mr Quinn sold out his controlling interest in the Quinnsworth group to Galen Weston’s Associated British Foods. He established the hotel and sports complex in Kilternan, Co Dublin, and other ventures, but eventually left recession-hit Ireland for Canada.

In Toronto his family runs a number of well-known pubs, including the Irish Embassy and PJ O’Briens, as well as a restaurant business. There is also a bar in Montreal. Mr Quinn also did some promotion, bringing Irish acts to Toronto.

He is survived by his wife Anne, children Bernard, Patrick, Lisa, Paul, Gavin, Tania, and Barry, his brothers Fersey, Fintan and Kevin, and sister Annette Maher. A second sister, Mary Lynch, pre-deceased him.