A new look store is bringing added trade for Balbriggan family EEC Homevalue, following a €3.5 million investment. The Hardware Journal dropped in for a chat with directors John Clare and Seamus Ennis.
The only way is up for well-known DIY, Homeware and Building Materials store EEC Homevalue, Balbriggan, following the opening of their upsized and upgraded store.
In 2021 the store doubled in scale, thanks to an extensive expansion from 20,000sq feet to 40,000sq feet, together with major refurbishment throughout.
October marked the official launch of the revamped premises. The public were welcomed into the store through a gleaming and impressive brand-new front entrance.
To add to the celebratory mood, EEC Homevalue unveiled a magical, life-sized Winter Wonderland, complete with Christmas train, and a tempting array of decorations, just in time for Christmas.
Shoppers could also relax at the new Blueberry Hill Café, after a busy day getting into the festive spirit and checking out all that the updated store has to offer.
Investing in Balbriggan
The €3.5 million investment will enable EEC Homevalue to further support the local community and surrounding areas with their extensive range of quality hardware, homeware products and building materials.
Furthermore, the expansion has created 15 new jobs and helped the team extend their product and service range to now include even more Garden & Lifestyle products, Doors & Floors, Homewares, Bathroom, Paint and much more, all in an attractive, well organised and easy to shop layout.
As Director John Clare explains, “customers can expect the focus on service and value for money that they have come to know us for”. “Now shoppers can also enjoy improved access in terms of layout and range, with everything they need all under one roof, from simple DIY products to full construction supplies and materials. We carry everything for every project.”
“Our huge range of products and our knowledgeable, friendly staff make your experience with EEC Homevalue easy, pleasurable and affordable.”
From humble beginnings
John, Seamus and their entire team are proud of how far the store has come in such a short time.
EEC Homevalue was established in 1998 in a small shop on Quay Street, Balbriggan and quickly developed a reputation in North County Dublin for its focus on exceptional customer service and delivering the best in building materials, hardware, homewares, paint, and bathroom to the local community, professional tradespeople and DIY enthusiasts.
Before long the growing business had moved to a new purpose-built premises at Stephenstown Industrial Park, its current home.
“The site is ideal because it is so close to the M50,” John says. He adds that, throughout rapid growth and change, the store remains true to its ethos, as set out on the company website: “As a family run business, we have built our foundations on being reliable to our local builders as well as our standard customers, providing all home necessities and listening to what our customers want.”
“These are words our team live by,” affirms John, “and the reason for our success”.
The joy of shopping
The store offers impressive, welcoming displays of key product categories, with abundant signage and branding throughout to make it as easy as possible for customers to browse and find what they need.
John believes it’s the wide and growing range of consistently stocked products that builds successful customer relations. “We carry all leading brands of DIY and building materials; keeping a ready supply of in-demand products is a mainstay of our business strategy. If we don’t have it in stock, we’ll do our best to get it for you.”
This is just one of the ways in which the EEC Homevalue team go the extra mile for their customers.
“Repeat customers are key,” John confirms. “Inviting, listening to and taking on board their feedback is vital. Wherever possible, we will act on it, as their input drives change and improvements.”
So not just a more user-friendly experience, but an emphasis on the value offers customers want too.
“And with an on-site café,” adds John, “shoppers really do have everything they need under one roof.”
Ask the expert
The store boasts in-house experts across all aspects of home building and maintenance. EEC Homevalue can deliver an exceptional level of customer service and advice on the spot.
65 full-time and part-time employees make up an impressive resource of invaluable product knowledge. This know-how, coupled with a focus on service gives customers the support and attention they seek and deserve.
“Every department has its resident specialists. And one third of our team have over ten years’ experience with us,” John is proud to admit.
This loyalty is testament to EEC Homevalue’s commitment to its people.
Getting the word out
EEC’s marketing team have always been quick to identify and enter new markets, wasting no time in seizing the opportunities offered by social media and online sales.
Their impressive website www.eechardware.ie is stylish, contemporary, visually appealing and very easy to navigate.
Categories are clearly and attractively presented, including Building Materials, DIY products, Gardening Products, Homewares, Paint, Workwear and Bathroom.
Like the store itself, the website has everything the tradesperson, DIYer or homeowner needs in one place!
The website also features a careers page with regularly updated opportunities.
EEC Homevalue is also promoted regularly on social media, through its Facebook and Instagram pages. Followers receive announcements of instore sales, capitalising on seasonal campaigns like Christmas, Halloween, Easter and Valentine’s Day.
Social media is also the perfect platform to unveil new product launches with photos, videos and messages from John and the team.
EEC Homevalue now has thousands of followers on each page.
With every posting receiving many comments and replies, it’s clear that this two-way communication is a rewarding way to connect with customers and community. Over the years, this online presence has grown exponentially; another achievement John, Seamus and the team take pride in.
EEC Homevalue is delighted to be part of United Hardware, the DIY and hardware group which supplies and operates the Homevalue retail brand in Ireland. United Hardware has over 150 Builders Merchants, DIY and Home & Garden stores employing over 2000 people.
As a member of the Homevalue network, together with Hardware Association Ireland, EEC Homevalue value their links with like-minded businesses striving for and achieving success and with the associations that represent and support them.
Secrets to success
When asked what he considers the secrets to the store’s success, John’s answer was succinct. “Product knowledge, value for money, prompt deliveries, and building good customer relations.”
John and Seamus with their dedicated team have achieved these and then some, as they continue to work to meet and exceed customer expectations.
“At the same time, like everyone in this sector, we are having to navigate ongoing challenges, such as the dramatic price increases of products.”
Despite inflation, John and Seamus are optimistic about the future and look ahead with confidence.
With growing demands for housing and home improvements, they see the market remaining strong. By maintaining their top-quality customer service and flexibility to meet customer requirements, be it products, service or advice, John believes a bright future is ahead.
Summing up his advice for other businesses facing an unpredictable future, John quipped: “Keep your staff and customers smiling!”
For now, John and Seamus are excited about the transformed store and the benefits it brings to their loyal customers. And they are busy extending a warm welcome far and wide.
“We’re delighted to invite new customers to discover our new-look store and eager to see how our loyal customers get on, as we continuously look to improve their shopping experience and support them with their DIY and homeware needs.”