A fixture in Nova Scotia's apple industry for more than 70 years has been forced into bankruptcy throwing more than 30 people out of work.
On Wednesday, secured creditors - owed $7.8 million - rejected a restructuring plan for J W Mason and Sons, near Windsor, N.S.
"We worked hard at it. We thought we were going to come through. It's just a kick in the gut," said David Ettinger, a 30-year employee.
"I put my heart and soul in this," he said. "I feel really bad for all the girls who work on the production line."
The company finished shipping apples to Ontario last month. It had hoped this year's bumper crop would generate enough money to keep the business operating.
According to documents filed by the company that was overseeing the restructuring, three factors are blamed for the Mason Apples' financial problems: a white-collar theft of $290,000 several years ago, the failure of a sister trucking company and downward pressure on prices from its largest customer.
The Business Development Bank of Canada is the company's largest secured creditor. It is owed $2.7 million. There are 96 unsecured creditors owed $913,000.
Despite the failure of Mason Apples, the Nova Scotia Fruit Grower's Association says the apple industry is healthy.
"It is very unfortunate but the industry is poised to compensate and pick up that production," said Rob Peill, the association's president.
Local MLA Chuck Porter said the bankruptcy is a real blow to the local area.
"They've been here for many, many years," he said. "We have 30 people consistently full time and then at picking time that number goes way up. So its a huge impact on our community."
The West Hants area is seeing nearly 200 jobs disappear with recently announced shutdowns at Minas Basin Paper in Hantsport, Seprecor pharmaceutical in Windsor and now Mason Apples.