Sara Lee: Quinn family confident iconic company can make a comeback

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The new owners of embattled Aussie confectionary brand Sara Lee say they are confident the public will help the iconic company survive.

Last month, Sara Lee’s administrators at FTI Consulting Monday that the brand, which employs more than 200 people in Australia, had been sold to a private company owned by Klark and Brooke Quinn.

The Quinn family are well known in Australian business circles as pet food tycoons, with Klark’s parents Tony and Christina Quinn creating the VIP Petfoods brand nearly three decades ago, going on to make $410m from the sale of the business in 2015.

They have now handed control over to Klark, known for his exploits on the GT Championship racetrack, and his partner Brooke.

“We are a small Aussie family that shared in the tradition of having Sara Lee Apple Pie and vanilla ice-cream every Sunday night at the dinner table and could not be more proud to put the Aussie made and owned stamp on the Sara Lee brand,” the Quinns said in a statement.

The pair were also responsible for rescuing Darrell Lea from oblivion in 2012 when it was forced into receivership.

Their dedication to the business included moving into the Darrell Lea factory for a year in 2014 in a bid to get the company back on track, working up to 16 hours a day to reverse its fortune.

“Darrell Lea was a journey, it was a big commitment,” Klark said on Tuesday night’s edition of A Current Affair.

“We lived in the factory for three years, seven days a week and being across every facet of the business, that was a good degree in what to do.”

The new owners say that, at the end of the day, it will be up to Australians to revive the iconic brand.

“We have the same optimism,” Klark said.

“It won’t be us that save Sara Lee. It will be the staff and the communities, it’ll be Australians.”

Administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said everyone was “pleased” with the outcome.

“Staff and consumers have rallied behind the business during this tough time, and we are so grateful to the loyal workforce and management team who have made this process a success while they have continued to produce amazing products,” he said.

“We have enjoyed working with the Sara Lee team and are pleased to see them come through this process. Many staff have been with Sara Lee a long time and we have seen their passion for the business.”

The Australian and New Zealand branch of Sara Lee, known for its frozen cheesecakes, pies, and ice cream, has been trading in Australia since 1971, but went into voluntary administration in October last year.

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