McDonoghs Trade Centre - paving new ground in customer service

Business Profile

McDonoghs Trade centre

Winner of Galway County Octabuild Builders’ Merchant Award 2011

McDonogh Trade Centre Ltd, one of Galway’s longest established hardware, DIY, and builders merchants, continues to pave new ground, ever diversifying and expanding its range of top quality products to meet the needs of all customers.

Winner of the Galway County Octabuild Builders’ Merchant Award for 2011, McDonogh Trade Centre Ltd, located in Ballybane Industrial Estate, is a subsidiary of Thomas McDonogh and Sons, a business which first began in 1825. Over the years the business steadily grew, developing a strong reputation for being one of the best and most reliable builders merchants in the industry. However with the recession and its adverse effects on the building trade more changes were needed and the business is now more focused on the general retail customer, many of whom look for advice from the expert and dedicated staff at McDonoghs.

2001 saw the hardware section of the business in Merchants Road merging with the builders’ merchant premises in Ballybane Industrial Estate where it now serves the DIY, home improvement, and renovation, home heating, bathroom, and gardening markets. The spacious centre today has everything you could possibly need, whether you are looking to renovate the house, a DIY fan, or working in the building trade.

Matt Jennings, a company director, explains: “The changes in the property market and the business we were doing were no longer suitable for a city centre location. The move proved very successful for some of the businesses during the boom, and some did not survive out here, like furnishings for example. The activity is a fraction of what it was in 2006/2007. Businesses exposed to building and development have taken an enormous hammering, that’s just the way it is. We think we have been able to deal with the downturn better than most. We still have the full range of building products but in addition we have everything for your home in terms of bathrooms, we do Stanley cookers and stoves, housewares, doors and timbers flooring, we also have a garden centre.”

McDonoghs Trade Centre has attributed much of its success to its efforts in making the business more retail and DIY friendly. “We worked on making it a more softer shop, more attractive to mature couples doing up their homes,” says general manager and current president of the Irish Hardware and Building Materials Association (IHBMA ), Brendan Maher. He added: “The paint department has been a big factor as well as the garden centre which was set up about three years ago. We’ve made it easier for the uninformed to make a buying decision. They don’t have to be very technically minded. They will get very good guidance to help them purchase the best product to meet their needs. We also still have the products and technical expertise to supply builders of all sizes. Floors and doors is a huge department for us. People are renovating, maintaining, and improving their homes. They’re not buying houses. That side is growing more. While people are not cash rich, they do have cash, and they are prepared to spend it in doing up their premises if they get good products and value for money. Paving is another area that has grown, people improving the property they are in and that’s the way the market has really gone.

“There is a perception out there that we are just a builders’ merchants. Customers that know us as a hardware business, a light DIY business, a softer business, they’re terribly loyal, we get the same faces coming in and out every day. We are more than a builders’ providers, that is a smaller part of our business now.”

“We had an established retail business and tried to make the shop more attractive to ordinary customers whereas before the majority of our business had been to builders, developers, heavy building materials. The retail side has kept us on the road. Any business has to either adapt or die, especially now in this industry,” said Mr Jennings, who added that McDonogh Trade Centre will now be looking to improve its website, www.mcdonoghdirect.ie, creating a better route to an even wider audience. It is just one more example of the company’s continuing efforts to innovate and deal positively with the recession.

“We’re offering an alternative source to customers. A lot of people research online and buy off-line. So they look online to see what product we have and come in to ‘touch it, kick it, feel it’, you know, and make a buying decision then. What we’re trying to do is develop the e-commerce side and trying to identify which products are easily distributed around the country,” explained Mr Maher.

With easy access to roundabouts, to Tuam Road and Dublin Road, McDonogh Trade Centre has a large area dedicated to providing its customers with free parking. The spacious interior of the main centre is extremely welcoming to professional and amateur DIY enthusiasts alike with friendly staff who use their high level of expertise to help customers with queries and to pick out the most suitable products for the job. In fact, this is one of the reasons McDonogh Trade Centre became the winner of the Galway County Octabuild Builders’ Merchant Award which recognises the expertise, dedication, and hard work of all employees. The award, the Oscars of the building retailing industry, also acknowledges the extensive range of products offered by the winner and the excellent value for money and customer care ethos of the business. This was the 17th Octabuild Builders Award and the companies which organised the awards are: Gyproc, Evo-Stik, Dulux Paints, Irish Cement, Kingspan Insulation, Sanbra Fyffe, Tegral, and Wavin.

One look around the shop floor and it is easy to see why it is this year’s winner of such a coveted award. There is everything the DIY-er, or indeed the professional trades people, could need, a real Aladdin’s cave, where if you cannot find it here, it does not exist. Quite a large section is dedicated to gardening. The garden centre allowed McDonoghs to expand into more lifestyle products such as pots, paving, walling, and gazebos. There are plans afoot to provide customers with more bedding plants and for miniature demonstration gardens to be created allowing the customer to have a clearer understanding of how the products will look and of the price point. The ‘grow your own’ section has become extremely popular in recent years and green fingers flock regularly to the horticulture section for McDonoghs famous special mix of Lawn Care products. Other products available in the gardening section include lawnmowers, strimmers, hedgetrimmers, chainsaws, composts and bark, fencing/trellis, garden gates, decking, weedkiller, compost bins, and water features. In preparation for the scorching summer McDonoghs has all you need for barbecues and garden furniture.

The home decor section includes everything from dining sets, laminate flooring, plank flooring, home electrical appliances, glassware, kitchenware, smoke and Co2 alarms, outdoor and bathroom lighting, post boxes, to water filtration/purification. McDonogh Trade Centre is also the place to go for home heating as it is the only dedicated Stanley Centre in Galway supplying modern and traditional style ranges as well as being one of the biggest stockists of Oisin Stoves. Sprucing up a few rooms and looking for that perfect colour? Well, look no further as McDonoghs has spent a lot of time and effort in creating an extensive paint department which includes all of the top brands of paints, and a colour room making it easier for customers to be informed in choosing the product that best suits the job. As well as catering for all things bathroom related McDonoghs has a huge range of DIY products and accessories including pressure washers, angle-grinders, drills, jigsaws, power saws, work benches, sanders, ladders, and many other tools.

For more information log onto www.mcdonoghdirect.ie or simply call into McDonogh Trade Centre at Bothar Na Mine, Ballybane Industrial Estate. Alternatively phone 091 779200 or email [email protected]

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