Swatragh company pushes door to export growth

CM Interiors in Swatragh is investing around £500,000 with Invest Northern Ireland support to market an innovative door kit product to the construction industry in key markets including the Republic of Ireland.

The expansion was announced today by Conrad McNicholl, Managing Director of CM Interiors, and welcomed by Mary Gormley, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office. Invest NI has offered the company £68,000 towards the costs of the expansion which includes export marketing support.

The company has developed a made-to-order ‘EasyFit’ branded door set that includes handles, hinges and the ready painted architrave door. The door is flat-packed for easy transport and faster installation.

Mr McNicholl said: “The new door set is based on our experience in outfitting a range of buildings, including hotels, offices and shops, over the past 10 years. Working alongside building contractors, I became aware of an opportunity to offer them a kit that would provide all the components needed in a single pack format that could be installed quickly and without the need for a skilled joiner.

“Interest in the product from contractors and architects has been tremendously encouraging and a number of orders have already been placed. We invested in the latest computer cutting technology to enable us to provide door sets to the specifications of individual customers.

“Our objective is to grow sales in the Republic to around 45 per cent of turnover by 2010 through a marketing drive and to expand into Great Britain. Overall, we expect the new product to result in a 50 per cent rise in turnover by 2010.

“Invest NI’s encouragement; advice and support have been extremely important in developing processes and training staff. The marketing assistance will help us to achieve our export goals,” he added.

Mary Gormley, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office said: “EasyFit is an innovative product for international markets that has been developed by a successful local entrepreneur. Mr McNicholl spotted a new product opportunity from his own experience and is now seeking to exploit this through a clearly defined business plan.

“This is in line with Invest NI’s corporate plan focus on faster economic growth in the North West and across Northern Ireland through the provision of practical support for innovation and exports.

“Our support has been customised to help this ambitious and enterprising company achieve its sales targets through measures to improve productivity and quality, as well as through a structured marketing campaign especially in the Republic of Ireland.

“The company has developed an excellent track record since its formation by Mr McNicholl in 1996 as a supplier of contract furniture and fit-out services to commercial and industrial customers across Northern Ireland,” she added.

CM Interiors currently employs 11 people at its premises near Swatragh in Co Derry. The investment is expected to provide nine new jobs in the area over the next two years.