Grafton spring water company shuts down! No Grafton water for Christmas
Consumers of the popularly known Grafton Water with a huge market as the country’s premier locally produced spring water will spend Christmas without their favourite product, and this has sent waves of frustration and disappointment among its consumers.
In a letter dated 3rd November 2021, addressed to the Minister of Water Resources, the Management of INTRAPEX (SL) Limited, which produces the Grafton Spring Water, formerly known as “Tutik”, notified the Minister of the closure of the company, citing “… unabated financial incapability…” to continue with its operations.
“I have been selling grafton water for many years and have a good customer base, but the scarcity caused by the closure of the company has made my customers very disappointed”, said Amadu Barrie, a shop owner at Jui, a neighbouring community to Grafton, where the company is located.
Traders, who eke out a living by selling grafton water on the road side from Grafton to Jui complained about the adverse economic effect the closure had brought on the welfare of their families.
Another group in the marketing of the product is the agents, who were engaged in the middle man operation of buying from the company and selling to retailers at a minimal profit margin.
“The closure has created a big gap in my business, which will be very difficult to close in the near future”, said Sulaiman, a grafton water agent.
“I and my family have been used to drinking grafton water for over ten years and the unavailability of the product in the market especially during the festive season is a big shock to us, and we find it very difficult to switch over to a substitute”, said Mr Christopher Thomas of Regent Village.
In addition to the marketers and consumers, are the employees, who have been laid off due to the closure of the company and will have to find alternative means of survival and their families. It is not clear how much Government is losing in tax revenue caused by the closure.
According to a staff, Alusine Bangura, the company is closing because they are bringing in modern sophisticated operating machines, which are faster in production speed to meet the growing market demands in the country.
“We are closing this December but will resume full operations maybe in April; this is as a result of the company partnering with a big supermarket in Freetown, which I cannot disclose to you now”, Alusine said.
He further disclosed that on resuming production, only the bottled product would be produced, while sachets, mostly used in homes with large families, would disappear in the market. It is important to note that the bottled product is not affordable by the average consumer.
Inside sources confided in Sierra Express that the shut-down was prompted not just for the purpose of upgrading, but for mismanagement; hence, the need for partnership to protect the company`s name and image.
The company was officially opened by Ex- president Siaka Probyn Stevens in March 1983.
By Basiru Bah
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