Apple producer forced into bankruptcy

Ashley Thompson athompson@hantsjournal.ca
Published on December 8, 2012
This photo was taken when Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley visited J.W. Mason and Sons Ltd. on June 26. (File photo)

A long-standing Hants County employer has been forced into bankruptcy.

A restructuring plan drafted with the revitalization of J.W. Mason and Sons Ltd. apple growing operations in mind was rejected by the company’s secured creditors earlier this week.

Details made public by the CBC said the secured creditors were owed $7.8 million.

West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee says the loss of Mason Apples will be felt by many within a community that has already been hard hit by the impending closures of the Minas Basin Pulp and Power Mill in Hantsport, and Sepracor Canada in Windsor.

“It will have a huge impact,” he said, speaking of the bankruptcy of Mason Apples.

“I mean, there’s 30 employees that would have been just laid off in the plant and [at] picking time I’m sure there’s over 100 employees.”

Dauphinee says Mason Apples was a source of steady employment for many people who would rather not pursue post secondary studies.

“Some of them have worked there their whole working career.”

The family-owned business, with a large packing facility and offices on the Windsor Back Road, was founded in 1939.

Mason Apples spokesperson Stephen Wells, one of three brothers who share ownership of the company, refrained from getting into specifics in an interview, but did offer a comment on behalf of his business partners.

“The only thing we can say is that we’re very disappointed in this outcome,” he said.

A bookkeeper for Mason Apples and its former sister company, Select Transport, stole nearly $290,000 from the privately owned companies between October 2007 and September 2009.

Last November, Clarke Road Transport Inc., of Halifax, acquired Select Transport’s operating assets through a bankruptcy sale.