COLUM O’Sullivan was walking in the sunshine in west Cork over St Patrick’s weekend when he got a transatlantic phone call out of the blue that would change his fortunes forever.
It related to a deal with a U.S food giant for his company, the Cully and Sully brand he forged with his friend Cullen Allen.
Cullen, the grandson of food doyen Myrtle Allen, is still digesting the mammoth deal with American organic food producers, Hain Celestial, which was announced at the weekend.
The 36-year-old father- of-three says he can’t disclose the sum of money that changed hands, but he does admit that it is certainly ‘lotto money’.
“That is euro lotto money,” adds Cullen with a laugh, “not American lotto money”.
The U.S food giant is based in New York and has acquired the artisan food company set up by Cully and Sully in 2004.
So it is it fair to say that the duo won’t be short of a crust and that their children won’t ever go hungry?
“Yes. I can definitely vouch for that!” says Cullen.
The savvy businessmen were delighted to be approached by Hain Celestial.
“We had been talking and planning about where we would go next with the business,” said Cullen.
“At which point communications began with Hain Celestial and the deal progressed from there.”
They were like two kids in a sweet shop.
“We were blown away, but still had to keep the mega deal under wraps until this week,” says Cullen.
“An entourage from New York arrived on my doorstep in Shanagarry, including the head honcho of the company, Irwin Simon, and then I knew it was going to happen.”
The advantages of the takeover are two-fold. Both Colum and Cullen will continue to manage all aspects of the business, while allowing them to broaden their product
offering in the Irish market.
“It will also enable them to grow their presence in foreign markets including Britain and the USA,” said Mr Simon. “We are keen to introduce fresh soups to the US, as this category remains underdeveloped there.”
Read the full interview in Wednesday’s Cork Evening Echo