11 Mar 2014

Bell tea factory to close

1:24 pm on 11 March 2014

Dunedin's historic Bell tea factory will close its doors in April after 90 years of operation in the city.

The brick building, erected in 1924, does not meet standards for earthquake strength, disability access and fire safety and the cost of fixing it up - estimated at more than $1 million - is too steep for the Bell Tea & Coffee Company.

Co-chief executive Mark Hamilton says the building "has some issues in relation to how the floors are attached to the sides of the building" and although the company explored the option of setting up another plant in Dunedin, "to set up a brand-new manufacturing unit of a food-grade quality is a very expensive thing to do."

Mr Hamilton says all 10 staff are guaranteed a place in Bell's Auckland factory and the company will help those who stay in Dunedin to find employment elsewhere.

The factory will be sold after it closes.