Dermot Kehoe Supply & DIY
Dermot Kehoe Supply & DIY was established in 1999 and has grown from strength to strength to where we now employ over 30 people in our extensive premises on the Woodbine Road, New Ross, Co Wexford.
Our growth is thanks in no small part to the loyalty of our customers, from major construction companies, to local DIY enthusiasts and proud homeowners as well as our own dedication and hard work.
Please take the time to browse the website to see what we have to offer throughout all our departments and showrooms and then come along and see the store for yourself!
Dermot Kehoe learned the builder’s merchant business in the old school of Heitons. It was there that he got his foundation, the post graduate bit was after years with Cleary and Doyle in Wexford Building Supplies.
Then after seven years in Marshmeadows to the south of New Ross on the River Barrow in the west of the county, he moved his well established Dermot Kehoe Supply and DIY business a mile or so up the main Wexford Road to Woodbine Business Park on the New Ross Ring Road.
Dermot Kehoe DIY is an ARRO store, combining ARRO Build and ARRO Home and Garden. Built on 3 acres on the New Ross ring road to his own design, the layout is both impressive and standard setting.
It is approached through a really huge car park which divides by design into a vast area for retail customers and a safe but separated loading area for the trade.
One does not have to go far to find Dermot Kehoe. He is the first of a line of people in the ARRO uniforms behind a counter at right angles to the door. The visitor is greeted with a warm handshake and put at ease immediately.
The driving force behind the business is repeat sales, says Dermot whose firm belief is that the only way he can be better than his competition is by service. “We all carry the same products and if we can give a better service our customers will return again and again.”
There is a long term vision. His family open day before Christmas is aimed squarely at bringing in the next generation. They may not be aware now that the confectionery boxes were a gift – there is no charge for seeing Santa at Kehoe’s. But their parents will remember.
A huge emphasis is placed on training but it may be summed up by the absolute belief that this customer will come back. Because the chances are it’s the boss who meets a customer with a product complaint the chances are the story has to be told only once and then it is resolved.
It’s better to take a loss to get the next and subsequent sales, is Dermot’s deepest belief.
“They know we care.”
Dermot Kehoe came from a self-employed background which he believes gives a more can-do philosophy than those coming from a professional or executive background. His father is something of a legend in the soft drinks business.
Dermot attributes his can-do positive attitudes to a group from his Christian Brothers school days in New Ross.
“There was a group of us around a Brother Hurley who were in plays and musical production. He moulded us into positive people who helped each other and continue to do so to this day.”
Among the group was Sean Connick whom they all worked to help become a new TD for the county. Sean is now a Junior Minister. This helps to explain why the store was officially opened by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. The official opening day was in October 2006.
But Dermot was a man to make his own way. All that group were, he said. He considers himself fortunate to have worked with the legendary Alex Dukes, of Heitons Waterford, who taught him all he knew.
Long before he opened his own store he was well known in the county thanks to his radio programme on South East Radio where he had a slot each week. He had helpful DIY tips and solutions for the listeners from around the county Wexford.
“I believe strongly in a slogan used by John Doyle, MD of Cleary & Doyle which was – be leaders not followers.”
Because of the importance of being a member of a positive group was instilled in Dermot at an early age, it was only natural that he would look at the group buying operations in the builders and hardware trade. He joined National Hardware. In September 2009 National Hardware joined forces with Associated Hardware joining up the ARRO and Homevalue brands to create United Hardware. This created a buying group of over 150 business throughout the country. “They are forward looking people.” says Dermot.
Dermot has already last year put in another floor for the increasing DIY trade which is heading for 30% of his business. It seems that 44,000 square feet was not enough for this business. Incorporated into this mezzanine floor was a lovely new HOMEWARES section and the now very popular First Floor Cafe. This cafe has fed many a hunger builder and well as catering for the ladies who lunch!!
The core of the business is one-off builds. Big volumes have falled off, he says, but its space will be taken by other segments of our very wide scope of the hardware and builder’s business. Times are very tough in the building trade and the full construction sector at the moment and Dermot insists that “we must put the head down and just get on with it” .
He has five trucks on the road and can react to orders very quickly. He started delivering sand and gravel last year.
One area Dermot saw, as a key to running a modern business, was computer software.
He uses Integrity software and has spent €50,000 on his system.
He attaches huge importance to compliance in all areas of business. He said “bureaucracy is making it harder but when I go to bed I sleep well.”
Dermot Kehoe’s buildings have an interesting layout so that his huge sheds face each other on three sides, not everything is covered but it very nearly is. Only treated timber is outside but not for very long.
The concrete yards are spotless. An oil spill from visiting vehicles is treated immediately as though it happened indoors.
Dermot’s wife, sister, two brothers and daughter are also involved in the business which he describes as having “a life of it’s own and I just work with it!” He attributes great praise to his excellent staff.