Based in Connemara, Co Galway, Nioclás Ó Conchubhair Teo Homevalue is an award-winning hardware and electrical store which holds an excellent reputation among its customers. Building Ireland recently touched base with Nioclás Óg Ó Conchubhair to find out all about this gem out west which marked 45 years in business this year.
Business is good these days at Nioclás Ó Conchubhair Teo Homevalue and the plan for the Ó Conchubhairs and rest of the team in Connemara, Costelloe, Co Galway is to try and keep things that way right through to next year.
Established in 1978, the family-run company is headed up by Nioclás Óg Ó Conchubhair and his sister Ailish (both directors) and employs 32 full-time staff.
Over the decades, it has earned multiple awards for its service to the customer in providing electrical appliances such as washing machines, dryers, hardware, DIY, insulation, plumbing and heating, building supplies, bathroom ware, homeware, paint and gardening products and much, much more.
Building Ireland caught up with Nioclás Óg to discuss the ins and outs of the company – from its origins to the overall state of business today.
“We’re building merchants, so we service the local builders, plumbers, roofers and we also have a big DIY trade where we sell household goods, gardening products and electrical goods,” he outlined.
The store is open six days a week (Mon-Sat, 8.30am to 5pm), has a renowned prompt delivery service and also offers a ‘Click & Collect’ service for its customers.
Its origins date back the best part of half a century to a time when Nioclás Óg’s father took the bold decision to go out on his own.
The rest, as they say, is history.
“My father was an accountant for Corbetts in Galway city and people were always asking him to maybe pick up nails or bags of cement and he seen there was an opportunity,” Nioclás Óg explained.
“He bought a factory back in the late 70s and he started from there. He started with one person and grew it up to 12 people and then he purchased an old building in 2007 and began trading around late 08/early 09 and from there it’s just grown into what it is now.
“It was a bold move at the time, but it was the right move because if we stayed back in Lettermore we would’ve struggled because we’re more diversified where we are now.”
And, right now, business is very much in a healthy state.
At the time, the Covid-19 pandemic certainly brought its challenges to businesses worldwide, and Nioclás Ó Conchubhair Teo Homevalue were no different.
Once things began to return to normal however, business boomed and this family-run venture continues to thrive today.
“Business during the first quarter of this year was maybe a bit quieter than the previous, but then certainly in the past two months or so it has picked up,” said Nioclás Óg.
“It’s certainly more positive and the good weather helped, especially for the retail side.”
He added: “Like with everybody, Covid was very difficult. We’d to change the way we operated and change all our processes. We’d to operate behind closed doors and we were lucky to stay open because we sold feed and fuel. Gradually then, we got to open the shop and we went from being extremely quiet to extremely busy.
“The industry had a good run of it after that and it was very positive.”
In 2022, Nioclás Ó Conchubhair Teo Homevalue added three awards to its already impressive collection, having previously be named Best Regional Store in Connacht in 2019.
When it comes to any of the award success that the business has earned, a modest Nioclás Óg is quick to credit the excellent staff members first and foremost.
“I suppose, where it (the award success) came from was different initiatives that we started. We surveyed our customers to see where our weaknesses were and we improved them,” he said.
“Even our phone system was changed and our deliver system as well. We also brought in a new delivery app where we take photos where the customer can see the goods and they also get a text to say when they’re going to get the delivery.
“Things like that have just improved the customer service. The delivery app is up and running probably a year-and-a-half now at this stage and there’s not too many doing it in the industry. The feedback from the builders has been excellent.”
He added: “The awards didn’t come from us. They came from the hard work of the staff over the years and pulling in together and changing.
“With Covid, we couldn’t continue the way we operated. We had to change and, in fairness to all the staff, they all came onboard, brainstormed and created new processes like the ones we spoke of.
“A lot of these initiatives were driven by the staff here. It’s them driving it.”
So, all of that considered, the burning question is what has been the secret behind the success of this award-winning business to date?
How has a small start-up grown into a thriving hardware and electrical store that now employs 32 full-time on its books and has a reputation for excellent service among customers.
“We always try to offer excellent customers service – it’s the number one thing. It’s extremely important and, no matter what, we look after them,” Nioclás Óg stated.
“The customer is always number one and always has been, it’s one thing we have learned from our father and we’ll continue to do that.”
Looking towards the months ahead and into 2024 for the business, Nioclás is positive about what’s around the corner for his company.
“We’re always optimistic. Things have been steadied and we don’t believe that it’s going to be very busy (in the coming months), but we do believe that it will tick over nicely.
“Certainly, it’s a difficult time with higher interest rates and things have gotten expensive, but we’re optimistic that business will continue to be good,” he concluded.
Nioclás Ó Conchubhair Teo Homevalue
Costelloe Industrial Estate,
Phone: 091 506111/ 506040
Fax: 091 506044
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, November 2023, Vol 9 No 11