FACTORY TOURS . . . Brendan Maher, chief executive of St James Smokehouse
St James Smokehouse currently operates from two neighbouring factory units and offices at the town’s Station Yard industrial estate.
They are among at least three food industry companies to have expressed an interest in the edge of town Pinneys site in Stapleton Road.
St James also owns the former Solway Veg factory in Empire Way, Gretna and although, having invested in the site, are still to begin planned extra production there.
Founder and chief executive Brendan Maher confirmed this week that if his company secured the Pinneys site they would focus expansion plans at both Annan locations.
Mr Maher spoke to the DnG24 this week after touring the site for a second time.
He said: “We could go in there and almost instantly be operational. We could be the natural successor of that building.
“We are a firm in the same town working with the same product. We have always co-existed very well with Pinneys.”
St James, who are focused on smoked salmon, currently employ between 75 and 100 people at their Station Road site in the town.
A further 55 people are employed at a sister factory in Miami, Florida.
Mr Maher explained the firm were now on the verge of a significant expansion in Annan and, should they acquire the Pinneys site, would look to widen the operation, initially adding around 35 workers but potentially growing in the same phase to about 100.
Looking further ahead, Mr Maher explained their customer base was widening and their aspiration was to steadily further grow the workforce.
He said: “We’ve got a lot of very big players that we have signed deals with, or whom we are on the verge of signing agreements.”