As East Belfast interior fit out company, ALD Fit Out, announces an increase of 20 per cent on sales in the first half of 2015 (compared to the same period last year) a company rebrand worth an investment of £30,000 and the employment of two new staff members, we talk to the company’s director, Julian Lewis.
"When the recession hit, we had to get strategic." At ALD Fit Out's Prince Regent Road base, Julian Lewis is reflecting on recent events in the company's history. "We would focus on different areas of the business and target them for improvement. That approach continues to work well for us, as today's announcement shows."
Julian could be referring to the retail fit out specialist's strong first-half performance - sales are up 20% this year on last. But ALD Fit Out has other reasons for celebration, including a complete rebrand which sees the 30 year old company launch two new websites (ALD Fit Out and their sister brand Equipashop) as well as several major new contracts which will take them into new markets.
Today, ALD Fit Out's workforce operates from a 25,000 sq.ft. complex on Prince Regent Road housing offices, storage, showroom and workshops. It is widely recognized as Northern Ireland's leading interior fit out company, specialising in retail, and its growing client list takes in international chains Paul Costelloe and Coca Cola along with local independents like McConvey Cycles, Rio & Brazil, and Hedz.
Viewing the ALD website naturally brings us to the topic of the company's increasingly complex online sales presence – Equipashop.
"It all started when we began growing the retail equipment supply side of the business," says Julian. "That gave ALD Fit Out a whole new sales channel, and it diversified our offer and strengthened the business. But we soon realized there was a downside. Clients would arrive at the showroom to buy retail equipment... and then tell us that they didn't know we did fit out, too!"
After enduring a couple of years of customer confusion, the company has bitten the bullet and re-established its retail equipment sales under a new brand. Equipashop has its own distinct visual identity and two websites that target markets in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and further afield.
Meanwhile, ALD Fit Out is looking to Northern Ireland's burgeoning commercial sector for the next phase of its development. "Northern Ireland is crying out for more grade-'A' office space," says Julian. "This is the sort of work that we love doing and we are looking forward to fulfilling several large scale projects which are in the diary for the second half of 2015 and into 2016."
ALD Fit Out's website is at http://www.aldfitout.com/
Equipashop's new websites are at http://www.equipashop.com and http://www.equipashop.ie