Bill Esterson MP was full of praise for employee-owned company Parfetts Cash & Carry when he visited their depot at Racecourse Retail Park in Aintree.
Mr Esterson is the MP for the area and also Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and International Trade. Mr Esterson met staff and was given a tour of Parfetts warehouse by Chairman Steve Parfett and joint General Manager Chris Hewitt.
Steve and Chris described the history of Parfetts and how it came to be owned by its staff. They also told Mr Esterson about how they work closely with their suppliers and customers to ensure the highest standards are maintained. The business also exports its goods around the world.
Bill Esterson MP said: “I really enjoyed visiting Parfetts in Aintree and being shown round the excellent facilities which the firm has. They are a good local employer if the loyalty of the staff is any guide, and a number of staff have worked there for many years. Being employee-owned is a good sign. I was impressed by the professionalism and integrity shown by Parfetts and in the way they work with suppliers and support their customers, who are often smaller independent retailers.
“There are concerns in the cash and carry sector because of the takeover of Booker by Tesco, which will give Booker access to the lower prices already paid by Tesco. Parfetts and other cash and carry firms will have their work cut out to continue to compete and their reputation and quality of service will be even more important in keeping customers and growing extra business. I have questioned ministers about whether the Booker takeover is unfair competition but so far ministers have said it has nothing to do with them and referred me to the Competition and Markets Authority. I would have thought that ministers should have been more concerned about ensuring there is a fair market and that jobs and livelihoods are safeguarded and I shall be watching to see what the effect of the takeover has on businesses like Parfetts.
"I should like to thank Steve Parfett, Chris Hewitt and all of the staff I met at the Aintree warehouse for making me so welcome and to wish them well for the future.”
Parfetts Chairman Steve Parfett said: “We were delighted to host a visit to the Aintree depot from Bill Esterson MP. I had invited Mr Esterson to discuss the role that Parfetts play in the constituency, employing 92 people all of whom own the business, and achieving sales of £66 million pounds per annum supplying convenience stores and caterers. 10 per cent of the turnover is exports to countries as widely spread as the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Spain.”
Mr Esterson met Chris Hewitt, joint General Manager, and Tom Hadwin, chairman of the Employee Council, at Aintree. The discussions covered employee ownership, the importance of wholesale to the UK economy, the apprenticeship levy and the impact of the proposed Booker-Tesco merger.
Chris Hewitt explained that he joined Parfetts 17 years ago as a part-time employee and has progressed through a series of promotions. During a depot tour Bill also met long-serving Parfetts employees Barbara Dumbell and Stephen Snell.