SKC Providers’ status as one of Ireland’s premier bathroom, heating and plumbing supplies specialists has been further consolidated with the opening of two additional stores in Clonakilty, County Cork and Greystones, County Wicklow. Building Ireland sat down briefly with proprietor Shane Connolly to discuss the continued growth and success of his industry-leading business.
As has been the case since the inception of the company from humble beginning in Rathnew, County Wicklow in 2010, SKC Providers continues to grow exponentially.
Since the word go, owner Shane Connolly’s business model has been quite a simple one: provide trade and counter customers alike with unrivalled products and service levels.
On the back of that non-negotiable approach to absolute customer satisfaction, demand for SKC Providers’ high-quality, value-added heating, plumbing and bathroom products has soared, leading to a steady growth in the business, which now boasts no fewer than five stores.
Supplementing the original showrooms in Rathnew and the outlets in Drumshanbo, County Leitrim and Gorey, County Wexford, new SKC Providers stores threw their doors open to the public in Clonakilty in February, 2022 and in Greystones as recently as August of this year.
“The demand for our products and service is there so it made sense to open the two new stores,” says Shane. “We’ll be offering the same range of products and the same high level of service for which we’re known, although Greystones is more of a trade counter with no bathroom showroom on site.”
At present, between the five strategically-located sites, SKC Providers generates direct employment for a team of 27, with a fleet of 14 vans on the road. These numbers are highly impressive considering that Shane only set the business up 13 years ago.
The secret of SKC Providers’ success? Without putting too fine a point on it, they are ticking all the boxes! “Service is definitely No.1,” the founder confirms. “Knowledgeable, customer-focused staff are very important, too, and the range of products we offer. After that, pricing is another strength – we are very competitive. By focusing on products, service and pricing, we can offer our customers an excellent experience and that’s why they keep coming back to us.”
Indeed, quality, price and service are the cornerstones upon which the business has been built and continues to expand. SKC specialise in all plumbing, heating and bathroom products and are involved in both the domestic and commercial markets, stocking everything from a tap washer to supplying major commercial / residential developments.
Each branch features spacious modern showrooms with an extensive array of tasteful and affordable bathroom suites, baths, showers, shower trays, shower enclosures, traditional and modern heated towel rails, bathroom furniture, taps and bathroom accessories as well as a comprehensive range of stoves.
Thus, with showrooms in three provinces, SKC Providers has an ever-expanding retail and wholesale customer base encompassing homeowners, developers, contractors, heating and plumbing subcontractors and merchants, DIY-ers and anybody in between. No order is too big or too small, no query deemed inconsequential; Shane never turns a potential customer away and creates time for everyone.
Going forward, it is likely that SKC Providers will continue to spread its wings: “There is scope there to expand the business further and we are always on the look-out for the next opportunity,” says the intuitive and forward-thinking Wicklow man.
As for the value of the excellent team he has surrounded himself with in Rathnew, Greystones, Gorey, Drumshanbo and Clonakilty, he adds: “It’s very hard to get good staff in the current climate. Once you do get good people, you have to try your best to hold onto them. That’s why I believe in looking after my employees.
“A lot of them have been with me long term and the new people we take on tend to slot in quickly and fit in well. They all play a key role in the success of the business. They learn quickly and understand the importance of product knowledge and customer care.”
As well as increasing its reach in terms of the number of outlets, SKC Providers is also constantly evolving and diversifying by taking on new products and product ranges. Regarding a significant recent departure, Shane continues: “We’ve introduced tiles to our showrooms for the first time. So far, so good – the tiles are proving to be very popular. In this business, you are learning and expanding all the time, working with customers to give them the best possible products and service.
“Using the contacts we have built up, when we are dealing with members of the public, if asked we can also recommend tilers or various other contractors who would be able to take on a job for them from start to finish. We deal with homeowners and DIYers, tradespeople and also deal directly with architects and designers.”
To date, SKC Providers has been a resounding success story. This of course hasn’t happened by accident. To the contrary, the owner’s foresight and vision – not to mention his vast investment of time and money into the business – has been instrumental in getting this progressive network of standard-setting bathroom, heating and plumbing supplies stores to where it is today.
“It has been a success so far and I can’t complain. At the same time, there’s no room for complacency as the days are getting longer rather than shorter and you have to make sure you are consistently maintaining the high standards the business is built on.”
“We’ll also keep adding new products and lines to the range. We import a lot of the products directly ourselves and that allows us to control costs better and to pass those savings on to our customers. It’s one thing having great products and service, but in today’s market customers are also looking for value for money.”
SKC Providers Ltd.,
Unit 8 Charvey Lane Industrial Estate,
Tel: 0404 20088Mobile: 087 4199750
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, February 2024, Vol 10 No 2