Personal touch still key at Sean Kelly Commercials
Based in Trillick, Co Tyrone, Sean Kelly Commercials Ltd specialises in the supply of commercial and industrial equipment for its clients. Irish Trucker spoke with its Managing Director Shane Kelly recently to learn all about the ins and outs of the company and its overall hopes for this year.
These are busy times for Sean Kelly Commercials Ltd and the hope for its Managing Director Shane Kelly and the rest of the team based along the Carryglass Road in Trillick, Co Tyrone is that things stay that way right through to next year.
Operating with seven full-time on its books, the company is a well-established commercial and industrial equipment supplier situated in the Tyrone region which has grown an excellent reputation for its service down through the years.
Indeed, things have come a long way since Sean Kelly set-up his small business in what seems a lifetime ago now, as the company has grown year on year to the point where it now operates with over 400 accounts.
Irish Trucker touched base with Sean’s son Shane, who is now heading up the company, to hear more about the state of business at the moment and the changes he’s seen since taking over in 2007.
“We’re based here in Trillick, Omagh, Co Tyrone and the business itself was established in 1976,” Shane outlined.
“We’ve seven working here, including myself, my mother and father. My mother’s name is Irene and she does all the accounts and my father Sean and her founded the business together.
“I’m the Managing Director of the business. My father is in his 70s now and has taken a step back a bit from it.”
A year prior to Shane taking over the reins from his father, Sean Kelly Commercials opted to upgrade their facilities on the same site.
Along with this, the company would also move towards a different direction with its services and, as has proven the case today, these were switches that paid dividends for the family-run venture.
“We moved into a new premises in ’06 and after the last recession in ’08, we sort of changed direction a wee bit here,” said Shane.
“We still do the preparations, service and maintenance and all that, but we always were involved in the reconditioning of gear boxes, diffs and lengthening and shortening of the drive shafts.
“You know what happened in ’08 yourself, there wasn’t the same volume of people, so we sort of had to adapt and moved into the reconditioning of the gearbox and diffs along with commercial and industrial equipment supply.
“So, we changed direction a bit and, thankfully, we’re still going strong today.”
Another change for Sean Kelly Commercials over the past decade or so has been how its clients communicate with it (and vice-versa).
The social media age has made it easier for the company’s customers to get in direct contact with Shane and he has embraced several different platforms in order to do so.
“It’s very seldom anybody’s ringing you on the phone anymore. It’s all Whatsapps, Snapchats, Instagrams, TikToks,” he said.
“It has changed totally but, in a way, it’s still the same. It’s just that people have a different way of contacting you and dealing with you now.
“The landline hasn’t been lifted here. I don’t know when and we don’t have a secretary because it’s myself that they’re contacting through the different social media platforms.”
Right now, business is going strongly for the company and the plan is to continue things that way.
While the Covid-19 pandemic did impact the day-to-day running of things at headquarters, they came through it and now they’re perhaps as busy as they’ve ever been along the Carryglass Road.
“To be honest with you, our place has always been steady and it never really slowed down that much,” said the Managing Director.
“There was actually three years in-a-row there where our turnover was exactly the same and I was wondering with my accountant how it could be. He said you’re actually running at your full potential with your staff size and current premises.
“’That’s where you’re at like and it made sense because we’re doing the same thing the same way, but Covid did mess us up a bit because we were closed for a wee while and the supply was a big problem, but it eventually got back to normal for us, thankfully.”
Some 47 years on from its inception and the reputation of Sean Kelly Commercials continues to glow amongst its clientele.
The company supplies gearbox, diffs and drive shafts all throughout Ireland and also over to England and Scotland as well.
Its delivery service in the north half of Ireland is within the same day, while the Pallet Network takes care of the rest.
So, all of that considered, the burning question is what has been the secret to the success of Sean Kelly Commercials for the best part of five decades now?
How has a small start-up grown into a thriving family business which is now renowned amongst its clients for providing a service which is second to none?
The way Shane sees it, much of it comes down to “the personal touch” which his father applied from ‘Day One’ and he himself has continued on that practice.
“Whenever the phone rang over the past 30 or 40 years, it was always my mother or father – that’s who you got,” he said.
“Mom and dad’s still here and we’re all very much a team. The reins were handed to me at that time (2007) and I’ve tried to continue that personal touch.”
Looking towards the months ahead for the business, Shane says he’s happy enough for things to keep going in the same direction as the company looks to continue keeping its loyal clients satisfied.
“If we can keep going like we have been then I’d be happy enough,” he said. “As long as everybody stays healthy, I’d be happy. I don’t see the business really changing much because we have very good customers and have a very good relationship with them.
“There’s over 400 accounts and it’s still very much a family business here.”
Wonderful to hear.
Sean Kelly Commercials Ltd
93 Carryglass Road,
Tel: 028 8956 1403
Mob: 07751 675133
First published in Irish Trucker magazine Vol 26 No 2, March/April 2023