Delivering the best tyres at the best prices

14 July 2016

Armagh Tyre Distributors are one of the leading wholesale suppliers of tyres to the trade nationwide.

Armagh Tyre Distributors are one of the leading wholesale suppliers of tyres to the trade nationwide.

Armagh Tyre Distributors Ltd. go to great lengths to source the best quality tyres at the most affordable prices in order to provide tyre retailers / wholesalers with an unrivalled service.

We travelled to Silverbridge and caught up with founder / proprietor Declan McVerry to find out more about this exceptional operation.

Providing customers across the island with a huge range of tyres at competitive prices - and backed up by an excellent delivery service - Armagh Tyre Distributors are one of the leading wholesale suppliers of tyres to the trade nationwide.

They stock a wide range of tyres for cars, 4x4s, vans, trucks, trailers, plant, tractors and agricultural machinery including leading brands such as Pirelli, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Kumho, Michelin, Firestone, Dunlop and Toyo. Armagh Tyres also introduced and distributes the Interstate tyres range in Ireland.
Armagh Tyres also distribute budget tyres including Double Star, Multirac, Conforser, Three A, Aotelli and Lanvigator as well as BKT truck and agri tyres and provide an on-site tyre retail and fitting service including balancing and puncture repairs.

Silverbridge man Declan McVerry established the company in late 2007 and started trading in 2008, having previously worked in sales and marketing in the fast-moving consumable goods sector, representing the likes of Guinness, Boyne Valley Foods and Allied Foods. 

“The connection with tyres goes back to my late father, Patsy, who unfortunately only passed away last July. He was a building contractor and he was always looking for opportunities to generate extra income on the side. That was how he came to set up a tyre fitting business in a garage at the side of the house. I used to work for him as a young lad, fitting tyres and fixing punctures etc. As demands on myself grew with school, football, college etc. and the building business took off, we let the tyre business go. Looking back, that was how the seed was planted, so to speak. 

“As my career in sales and marketing progressed, I began to feel restricted and the autonomy of running my own business appealed to me, so I set up the tyre business here in Silverbridge.” The experience gained in the FMCG industry was useful as it gave Declan added skills which came in handy when he set out on his own.
“Tyres is an area where there will always be a big demand and I knew that if I could source quality tyres at competitive prices and provide a keen delivery service, then we could create a niche for ourselves in the Irish market.”

Then the recession hit and tested Declan’s resolve to the max. But he has come through and is presently experiencing steady growth. “I started off small with one van and I did all the groundwork myself, cold calling to potential customers and building up a customer base, and looking after telesales and admin.
“It’s building at a nice steady pace now and we have three vans on the road as well as a couple of guys in the office handling telesales. At the moment we’re employing eight people. It has evolved naturally. There was no grand plan; the growth we have experienced has been in response to demand. However, in the tyre business you can never take anything for granted – you have to continue to look after the customers you have as well as trying to generate new business. ”

The core business comprises supplying passenger car, SUV, light commercial and truck tyres – plus some agri – to tyre retailers and garages island-wide. Wholesale distribution accounts for around 95% of overall business, with some 80% of sales being in the Republic of Ireland, from Donegal to Cork. Steady growth is also being experienced in Northern Ireland. “There is definitely room for further growth. I would consider the business to be still in its infancy, with thousands of potential customers,” Declan notes.

In September, Armagh Tyre Distributors is launching a new franchise – Rovello budget tyres – and they are also agents for the Arcom range of storage equipment for tyre warehouses. Arcom warehouse storage systems allow stockists to maximise their storage space using professionally-made tyre display stands as well as trollies for moving stock around.

As well as sourcing a vast range of high-quality tyres at ultra-competitive prices, Armagh Tyre Distributors Ltd. also place a major emphasis on prompt and efficient delivery: “We handle all of our own deliveries and we never use any third parties or couriers,” Declan confirms. “A lot of our competitors use couriers but we keep the deliveries in-house and that way we can guarantee the fastest solutions possible. In other words, we try to control the controllables.”

Of course, it’s impossible to have every tyre in stock at all times but experience of prevailing market trends informs Declan of what’s hot and what’s not. “We’re increasing our stock on an ongoing basis. You try to have everything in stock but there are so many different tyres today with different sizes and specs that it’s almost impossible. You also have Budget, Mid Range and Premium-branded tyres and it’s very hard to stock all sizes across all three categories. But you get to know what your customers will need and you make sure you can get those tyres to them as quickly as possible.”

Fleet-wise, Declan runs an immaculate, fresh and well-maintained fleet to ensure that he gets the products to his customers asap. To this end, he purchased two brand-new Mercedes-Benz Sprinters from Truck & Van NI in January/February of this year. “We’ve been running Sprinters for six years and have three at the moment, working nationwide,” he reveals. “Two of them had to be specially ordered from the factory in Germany because we required extra-long-wheel bases and extra high roofs in order to maximise the available storage space on board.”

Outside of the business, one of Declan’s other great passions is gaelic football and his local Silverbridge Harps club. He represented the club at all levels, winning county minor and U21 league and championship medals in 1984 and ’86 respectively. He also togged out for Armagh at minor and U21 grades and represented Salthill during a spell living in Galway. More recently, he was part of the management team with the minors who won the Armagh league and championship double and reached the 2013/14 Ulster club final in, losing to Watty Grahams of Derry.

Peter Carragher, a current Armagh senior panellist, who won an All-Ireland minor medal in 2009, works for Armagh Tyres during the summer, which enables him to stay at home and help Silverbridge in their local IFC quest.

As for the future of the business, Declan sees no room for complacency: “We aim to consolidate our customer base and ensure that we remain competitive and continue to provide a good personal service. The tyre business is extremely competitive and you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. There are always tough days and tough decisions to make but you get on with it and rise to the challenge.”

Sounds like big pressure… “Pressure is for tyres,” the Armagh man concludes.

Armagh Tyre Distributors Ltd.,
25a Cortreasla Road,
Silverbridge, County Armagh, BT35 9EE.
Tel: 048 3088 9206 (ROI) / 048 3088 9206 (NI)
Fax: 048 3088 9206 (ROI) / 048 3088 9206 (NI)
Mobile: 086 737 5374

Taken from Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, Vol 18 No 8, October 2015 

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