Aoife Kinsella at the Hardware Journal recently caught up with Eamonn Kerr, Manager of Ferdia Homevalue, Ardee, about the phenomenal growth and success of this ambitious three-and-a-half-year-old business, now thriving in a spacious new premises. Read the full story here https://bit.ly/3nJZIQ1
Aoife Kinsella talks to Eamonn Kerr, Manager of Ferdia Homevalue, Ardee, about the phenomenal growth and success of this ambitious three-and-a-half-year-old business, now thriving in a spacious new premises.
For Ardee, the last eighteen months has brought a positive major development; a brand-new, appealing and exciting hardware and homeware retail destination, expansive in size, selection and welcome.
Ferdia Homevalues’ purpose-built premises opened in August 2020 and has been going like gangbusters ever since. As Store Manager Eamonn Kerr tells it, Ardee’s newest landmark accelerated from 0-60 in record time. Hard to believe, from a tour of the impressive retail space, that Ferdia Homevalue first opened their doors as recently as March 2018.
No toddler steps here. Just two years on and they had moved to their extensive new location in the Ardee Enterprise Centre, just outside town and handy for the M1.
Through pandemic and Brexit, Ferdia Homevalue has seen exponential growth, a testament to the devotion of their team and loyalty of their customers. But it takes an extra measure of confidence and foresight to plan and build a large-scale new store in the middle of a pandemic. Now this vision is paying off.
Faith in the future
Ferdia Homevalue started out in Ardee’s old Catholic Church in John Street and this unique location served as the store for the initial couple of years. The new site, comprising 18,000 square feet of a shop and yard, gave the team the space and scope to realise ambitious growth plans. Because it was purpose-built, they could design every aspect to make the retail experience as attractive and convenient as possible for customers, both trade and DIY, to fully realise the potential of their investment.
As Eamonn recounts: “Once we moved into the new store, we were able to increase our variety of stock, and we soon opened the heavy-end side of our business”. The move has reaped results with a healthy growth in sales.
Best products at the best prices
The appeal is obvious. A very shoppable store layout, and a huge selection, invitingly presented.
The team made the most of the available space with a wide array of products, encompassing: gardening, household, furniture, carpets and wooden floors, vinyl, paint and wallpaper, hardware, sanitaryware, plumbing, DIY, and heavy hardware.
“All our product displays are kept well maintained and stock is regularly replenished.” Window displays are frequently changed and updated, while all departments are clearly defined for easy access by customers.
Ferdia Homevalue also provides useful services including key-cutting, paint mixing and prompt delivery.
Eamonn maintains that strong relationships with suppliers are the foundation of the product range on offer, which includes trusted brands and quality Irish-made goods. “We can get the best products at the best prices for our customers.”
Good supplier partnerships also enable Ferdia Homevalue to go the extra mile for their customers. “If a customer is looking for something in particular, we will do our best to source that product.”
Ask the experts
The store’s team comprises twenty full-time and part time employees, all of whom, Eamonn is proud to say, come with the background and specialist expertise needed to meet their trade and DIY customers’ needs and give them informed help and support.
“All our staff know their products and their customers.” Eamonn himself brings extensive know-how in plumbing and building products. Niall and Sylvia, who have been with Ferdia Homevalue since Day One, have a wealth of experience in paint, gardening, ironmongery, household and seasonal goods.
Training is regularly undertaken to keep product knowledge fresh and up to date. Customer feedback and trends in consumer tastes and habits are also highly valued and followed. “Keeping an eye on pricing, as well as new products entering the market is imperative to our success. We stay competitive by listening to what customers are looking for and watching market trends, so we can respond and fulfil their requirements.”
It’s this combination of friendly, knowledgeable employees with a flair for customer service that Eamonn claims has helped Ferdia Homevalue become the ‘one-stop-shop’ for the local and surrounding area.
The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on business and society worldwide, but Tara Mullarkey, who manages Ferdia Homevalue’s marketing and administration, was particularly well-placed to observe how Covid changed their customers’ behaviour.
The store was able to adapt quickly, she explains. “A growing number of people are using Facebook to communicate with us and other shops, especially through the pandemic when many people were not venturing out but still wanted products to maintain or enhance their home and property.”
The team uses a regularly updated Facebook page to showcase all their latest products, special offers, instore activities and other key points of interest for customers and the community alike.
Ferdia Homevalue got onto Facebook at just the right time, putting them in an advantageous position to stay connected with customers throughout the last eighteen months.
“Having that Facebook presence, launching our page in February 2018, it has now become very popular among our customer base, giving us an efficient way to reach out to them and promote our products, services and brand.”
Tara works with Krystal to update the page regularly and keep communications going with loyal customers.
“We are able to quickly publish posts with all the news, and we also respond to all comments or queries sent through Messenger in a very timely basis. It’s great to see how our customers tag their friends and relatives on products.” This digital version of word of mouth is invaluable for attracting sales and building reputation.
Ferdia Homevalue also maintains a website, www.ferdiastore.ie, which highlights all the products and services on offer. eCommerce is next on the agenda. “We will be further developing the website so it can be a platform for selling products. We want to give our customers yet another way of doing business with us, with all the convenience of buying from their home, office or phone.”
The plan is to finish the website in the coming year. “We hope this will bring customers from further afield. As we are a new store, not everyone knows the extent of our product range.”
Today and tomorrow
Ferdia Homevalue’s ongoing growth and resilience continues to help them through the challenges stemming from Covid and Brexit that have impacted the sector, such as rising product prices.
Eamonn notes that while changing customer trends have been welcome, ushering in new opportunities, supply continues to be a concern.
“Covid-19 brought more house repairs and home and garden DIY projects and renovations. However, we are still contending with constant increases in prices and supply issues in the current climate.”
To support and promote their growth into the future, Eamonn and his team remain open to new product developments, allowing them to maintain strong relationships with both suppliers and customers.
“We are always on the lookout for new products or ranges that come on to the market.” And with eCommerce on the horizon, more channels for selling them.
Eamonn and the staff are proud to be associated with professional industry groups, starting with joining United Hardware in 2020.
“They have helped us become more competitive in the market by introducing us to new suppliers and providing training and marketing tools”, says Eamonn.
In 2019, Ferdia Homevalue joined Hardware Association Ireland and have greatly benefited from the information, services and advice available.
Success starts with…
When asked about the secret of their success, Eamonn’s answer was simple and succinct. “A good range at a competitive price, and staff members who know their products.” Eamonn also attributes impressive growth in a difficult and uncertain climate to the store move, along with being part of United Hardware and Hardware Association Ireland.
With the backing of a dedicated team and a prime location the only way is up for Ferdia Homevalue!