Sweet success for Larne manufacturer in exports

A surge in US sales has led Intermatic Manufacturing, the Larne-based specialist in vending systems, to set up an office in Denver, Colorado and to sign up with a manufacturer in Chicago.

Intermatic, the developer of a unique fresh candy floss vending system has used Invest Northern Ireland trade missions to develop its exports in the US including the most recent mission to the huge leisure market in California.

The company has secured business from several North American entertainment corporations including Chuck E Cheese and Nickles and Dimes, both headquartered in Texas, as well as companies in North Carolina and Canada.

In addition to the contracts in North America, Intermatic, which employs five people at Larne, has now supplied systems to customers in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Iraq, Russia, Romania and Mexico.

David Hawthorne, Intermatic’s Managing Director, says the company had grown its exports to 95 per cent of sales over the past two years. “I’ve used Invest NI trade missions especially to the US, the world’s biggest market for candy floss/cotton candy, to build sales.

“Approaches for the system from operators of entertainment centres including several with vast networks, made it essential that we had an office there and an agreement with an in-market manufacturer.

“I chose to locate the office in Denver because of its central location and excellent communications links throughout the US and into Canada, where we have business developing strongly around Vancouver.

“I was also able to find a family-run manufacturing business, near Chicago, with the type of engineering skills and experience required to ensure consistently high quality machines. Indeed I’ve found manufacturing in the US much more cost-effective than in South East Asia,” he added.

Welcoming Intermatic’s developing global success, Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Director of Trade, said: “Locating an office in Denver and setting up a manufacturing agreement in the US are important strategic investments by this ambitious and export-led company.

“The company is now positioned for even faster growth in what is probably the world’s biggest leisure/entertainment markets, the home of cotton candy. Our trade missions have enabled the company to explore key regional markets and to develop a strategy to develop contacts and exploit the opportunity there for its very innovative product.”