Customers rally to support staff after Earthy liquidation

A community is rallying to raise cash for 'wages' after a court order putting organic food store Earthy into liquidation left staff without jobs just before Christmas.

Wednesday, 17th January 2018, 6:00 am
An earthy staff member with some of the store's locally sourced organic produce

The business, which has been operating in the city for ten years, filed a petition to Edinburgh Sheriff Court on December 11 to “wind-up” the company.

Businesses can apply to the court to wind up a company if it can’t pay its debts of more than £750 and if successful, it will be put into liquidation.

Joint administrators Adam Southard and Ken Pattullo of Begbies Traynor were appointed after Earthy was put into administration on January 9.

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Staff were given less than a week’s notice of the dismal situation and one said: “A lot of the staff were told on Wednesday, January 10 that they were out of a job. Some staff got less than half their December pay while others got nothing.”

Dismayed at the situation the staff had been left in, Justin Kenrick and Eva Schonveld started an online fundraising page.

They said: “Some Porty Earthy staff are in pretty serious situations and/or with dependents, and could really do with help from anyone in our community who has appreciated their kindness and who can spare something.”

The page “Whip-round for Porty staff (suddenly sacked)” has reached over £2000 which Justin and Eva have been giving to staff members as it comes in.

Support and well wishes has since flooded in from grateful punters.

Emily MacKenzie said on the crowdfunding page: “I’m so sorry to hear that Earthy has closed and the lovely, friendly staff have lost their jobs. Wishing you all the best for the future.”

Rachel Campling agreed the crowdfunding was a great initiative. She said: “I will really miss the staff and the shop – not like anywhere else here!

“So sorry it has happened like this – after the sense of wrong and loss, may all staff find wonderful opportunities and something even better.”

Oonagh O’Brien added: “So sorry to hear about the situation for staff with Earthy’s sudden closure. Thanks for all the friendly chat and advice over the years and for trying to make it all work.”

Earthy, which had been voted Scottish Independent Food Retailer of the Year by the Observer Food Monthly, released a statement thanking Edinburgh for its patience and loyalty.

“Earthy would like to thank each and every customer, staff member, supplier and neighbour, both business and 
personal, that have worked with us, visited us and supported us.”

The business was born when horticulturist Pete Jackson met organic farmers Patricia Stephens and Dirk 
Douglas who came together with a goal to bridge the gap between a farmers’ market and a big supermarket.

The independent grocery store, cafe and restaurant business had two remaining 
premises in the city – one in Portobello and the other on Ratcliffe Terrace, Causewayside and a previous outlet at Canonmills Bridge which closed in September.