A Ballymoney firm has reached a milestone - 40 years in business.
The reality of the matter is that it takes determination, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and a fair slice of good fortune before you can even think of relaxing and becoming a normal person again, yet the rewards can make it all worthwhile, eventually.
The Paints & Components story began on 1st February 1976, when Raymond Wallace, after 15 years spent in the Stores at Ford dealers R. Kennedy & Son of Ballymoney, decided to go it alone. Having been Parts Manager at Kennedy’s, the factoring business was a natural progression for him, and he started small.
The first premises were at Edward Street, and the company had a staff of just two to begin with, Raymond himself and an Accounts Clerk.
Elmer Wallace, a few years younger than his brother, soon went into business alongside Raymond, himself having worked for Kennedys, and from then on it was a matter of making steady progress establishing a reputation for quick and efficient service and expanding the stock. Expansion, of course, requires space and in 1979 another storey was added to the Edward Street premises, but three years later the brothers needed more space and it was then, in the summer of 1982, that they moved to the current premises at Seymour Street, which was previously the Richlea Eggs store.
From 1982 onwards the business has grown to what it is today, with a total of 18 knowledgeable staff, all of whom have had their own part to play in the success of the company over the years. The company prides itself with an enviably low turnover of staff, some of whom have been with the company for over 30 years.
In more recent times competition in the Motor Trade became tougher than ever with the market beginning to change, this sometimes made it difficult for the smaller independent Motor Factors to compete with the larger multi-branch companies out there. At that time in the late 1990’s a few of the larger independent Motor Factors decided to form a local buying group, which allowed them to join forces, combining their buying power to help buy more efficiently from their suppliers.
This commenced in October 2000 and worked well for a number of years, but Raymond & Elmer decided in 2010 that they would like to move things forward further and, in 2011 became members of GROUPAUTO, who are the UK’s Number 1 trading group.
Along the way there have been various ups and downs, most notably a huge fire in April 1989 where over half of the stock and building were destroyed after an electrical fault set the rear of the building ablaze.
Despite this, within a couple of days the company was up and running again at Ballybrakes Business Park a few minutes away, this was only possible due to the monumental efforts from loyal customers, staff, fellow Ballymoney business owners and suppliers who all rallied around to get P&C up and running again in their hour of need.
The next challenge was a flood in 2007 when the nearby river burst its banks and flooded the entire building with about 10 inches of water. Again a lot of stock was lost and a huge clean-up operation was required to get things up and running again. As it was following the fire, everyone rallied round, both customers and staff, which made the daunting situation that little bit easier t o overcome.
On to the present day and both Raymond & Elmer are deservedly enjoying semi-retirement and there is now a new generation of Wallaces on board to take things forward.
Elmer’s son Graeme, and Raymond’s son Rodney have now stepped in to take on the challenge of the future of Paints & Components. Rodney has been with the company for 34 years since he left school, and in that time has built up a great relationship with customers, staff & suppliers. Graeme joined the company in December 2012 following his father Elmer’s retirement, leaving behind his career as a Project Manager in a Civil Engineering Consultancy to do so, and bringing with him the transferable managerial skills and experience to fit in with the requirements of a company like Paints & Components.
Raymond’s youngest son Gareth is also in the business working mostly as a delivery driver in one of the company’s 8 vans, and he also looks after warehouse stock layouts and van delivery scheduling.
The latest generation are very aware of the challenges that lie ahead of them in an increasingly competitive, challenging and ever evolving market. However, Paints & Components as a family run business has been built on some basic key principles over the years, good reliable service, helpful and knowledgeable staff, good quality products and a keen interest in vehicles.
These are the principles that the company will not deviate from in the years ahead and it is hoped that it will continue to be a success for many more years to come.
“The Directors of Paints and Components Ltd would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers and friends for their valued support over the past 40 years, and look forward to being of help to you in the years ahead.”
Full feature in this week’s Times!