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Business Boost sets Devine Memorials on the pathway to sustainable growth

25 October 2018

Derry and Tyrone based headstone specialists Devine Memorials have grown their workforce and have ambitious plans to expand into new markets with support from Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business Boost programme.

The family run business have been serving the North West market and beyond for over 26 years and their experienced team design, manufacture and install a wide selection of headstone deigns and grave accessories in their showrooms in Plumbridge and Ardmore.

Their services also include renovations, cleaning and refurbishment of existing graves and surrounds, concreting and re-cementing over graves, additional and refreshing lettering on headstones, glass pebbles and a wide variety of accessories to compliment graves.

The business was established in 1992 by Kevin Devine Senior and he manages it along with his son of the same name.

“After developing his trade at several local monumental sculpture businesses my Dad took the decision to go out on his own and start his own enterprise,” explained Kevin Junior.

“Back in the early 90s, the culture was to buy monuments locally and fit them but he understood that we could provide a much more bespoke service if we had total control over production and he installed extensive equipment to help us do that.

“In 2018 we have improved our manufacturing ability through the development of a large scale production workshop and we are now one of the main importers of monuments in Ireland - visiting stone exhibitions all across the world every year has allowed us to build our contacts and secure suppliers for the highest quality stone.

“We have developed our trader’s customer base in recent times as a result of having such an unrestricted stock.

“This year we have also opened an indoor showroom and new office at our Plumbridge branch.”

The growth of the business has created challenges as well as opportunities but Council’s Business Boost programme has helped them install the necessary processes to deal with the increase in transactions as well as designing a ‘Sales and Growth’ which will guide the next five years of their development.

“As our orders were constantly on the rise, it was becoming impossible for staff to organise and prioritise what was coming through,” explained Kevin.

“We understood we needed a bespoke software package that would satisfy order management and stock control and the Business Boost programme was pivotal in providing the necessary support and guidance to create such a software.

“We are currently in the implementation stage of the software and the Business Boost programme has guided us through every step of the process.

“We hold the business boost programme in the highest regard, they provided a consultant from Full Circle, Peter Kelly and what he has done for Devine Memorials can be described as monumental.

“His attention to detail, vast network and ability to complete jobs with distinction are just a few of the attributes he possesses.

“Business Boost and Devine Memorials have now worked together twice and I’m pleased to say that each round has been as productive as the other.

“Our future projects include a Rural Partnership project to elevate our capital investment.

“We plan to insert new cutting machinery in 2019 and this project will allow us to grow our workforce and expand our Business into the Republic of Ireland market.

“We have completed our second round with Business Boost and the outcome of that is a ‘Sales and Growth’ plan for the next 5 years in the company.”

Despite having a firm plan for the next five years, Kevin admits they do face uncertainties during the current Brexit negotiation process but he believes their loyal staff and customers means they remain in a strong position to continue to grow.

“As Brexit looms closer, we can’t deny that we are sceptical of how it will affect us like everyone else in the border constituencies.

“We have a dedicated team of workers from the local area, they are our biggest asset and that combined with our strong customer base gives us confidence for the future in spite of the uncertainty.

“We have a long serving team which includes generations of the same families, Kieran McCullagh, a master stonemason and pivotal vital member of our workforce, has been with us over 20 years and his son Tiernan has now joined us on placement.

“We would like to thank our staff who carry out their duties with such diligence and professionalism.

“The loyalty of our customers has been crucial for us and we would like to thank them also for their continuing years of service which we are forever grateful for.”

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business Support Services team offer a range of services designed to help start-ups and SMEs grow.

For start-ups, the Go For It Programme is now delivered by your local Council, if you have a business idea that you would like to develop, they can help you with business planning to take the next step, Further information is available on 0800 027 0639 or visit www.goforitni.com.

If you are an established business within the Derry and Strabane Council area, Council have a range of strategies aimed at business growth from outdoor trading opportunities to establishing collaborative working networks we will be happy to tailor these to your business.

Initiatives designed by our Business Development Team include: Business Boost Programme, Strabane BID, Market Trading Opportunities, Collaborative Networks.

Please get in touch with one of our business advisors now to see how we can help with your business growth.
Whether you are a start up with a business idea or an established business looking to grow, contact one of our team now to see how we can help.

Full details are available at www.derrystrabane.com/business.