It’s 110 years old, and going strong #CorkBusiness

25 June 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth

The company behind Homestead is celebrating 110 years in business!

If I said to you “One of the leading Cash and Carry & Foodservice Wholesalers in Cork”… you might say Musgrave, the Barry Group, or M&P O’Sullivan.
For some reason Cork is home to a number of large and successful businesses in the sector, and that is great!

If you think you haven’t heard of M&P O’Sullivan, then play this video below

Yes, that’s right, M&P O’Sullivan is the company beind the well known “Homestead” brand, well known to generations because of its catchy 1980s advertising jingle.
The homestead brand was launched in 1983. Today the company are beind the Gala brand of franchised convenience stores.

M&P O’Sullivan are celebrating 110 years in business.
M&P O’Sullivan is an independent 4th generation family business. Its 46,000 sq ft facility at Sarsfield Road in Wilton (near to the driving test centre) now supports 50 jobs locally in Cork.

In addition, M&P O’Sullivan also support an additional 200 jobs locally through its Gala franchise, and the successful Homestead and White Hat brands. They opened two new Gala stores already this year in Bandon and Ballyphehane Cork, and have plans to open a further five stores in Cork in the next 12 months, which will result in up to 50 additional jobs.

M&P O’Sullivan also work with a wide range of independent stores and the Foodservice industry, supplying product to a large number of catering outlets, and are indeed one of the biggest fast food suppliers in Ireland.

Commenting, Director James O Sullivan, said “Only 5% of businesses in Ireland are believed to be 4th generation, which is an incredible achievement for our business. I would like to acknowledge the huge contribution our founder, my grandfather, Patrick O Sullivan made, and his vision, and also our very loyal team”.

“As one of Cork’s oldest and most established companies, we are of course reflecting on the past this year, but more importantly we have a renewed focus on the future. You can’t survive in business this long without continually re-freshing and developing the business.”

Special olympics
M&P O’Sullivan has taken a philanthropic approach to celebrating its anniversary. As one of the shareholders of Gala Retail Services – the convenience group with almost 200 stores in Ireland – Gala and M&P O’Sullivan have recently announced that Gala is now one of the official sponsors of Team Ireland with Special Olympics Ireland.

In a six figure deal, that includes sponsorship rights and a significant activation budget, this major sponsorship will help Irish athletes travel to and compete at July’s World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

History of company

M&P O Sullivan was founded in 1905 by visionary Paddy O Sullivan, who was had entrepreneurial insight to open a retail outlet in Princes Street, Cork and later to expand into a tobacco business called Red Abbey Tobacco factory. As a nod to this chapter of their history, one of the modern day M&P O’ Sullivan’s generic food service brands is today known as Red Abbey.

Founder Paddy was followed into business by his son again called Paddy in the 1940’s who moved the business more into the catering and grocery sector. He had the distinction of being one of the youngest people to have attended UCC, commencing his studies at just 15 he went on to graduate with B.COMM degree at the age of 17.

Products supplied by M&P O Sullivan include grocery, health and beauty, stationery, equipment, wines, beers, spirits, fresh and frozen produce, confectionary, snacks, soft drinks, catering, hardware, household, electrical products, cleaning, and hygiene products.

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