Sam Coulter: "Our products are Irish and made to our own formulations"
Leitrim-based company, LCR Chem, has been making cleaning products for the janitorial sector for the last 20 years. The company, which employs seven people in Drumshanbo, has traditionally supplied the wholesale market.
However, the depth and length of the current economic recession has taken its toll on LCR’s customer base and company founder, Sam Coulter, needed to find a way of replacing the lost sales.
“We had been going along fine for many years making a specific range of products that suited our particular marketplace well,” he says.
“But with this recession we have seen a worrying number of customers going out of business and we had to do something.
“We had equipment and a lot of knowledge and we decided to apply it to products for use in a domestic setting.
“We spent about a year and around €50,000 putting together a range of products suitable for the home and the farm.”
The products are all made in Leitrim and the first three, moss killer, concrete cleaner and a fungicidal wash, were launched in December last year.
“Yes, there are products of this type on the market, but they are almost all imported. Our products are Irish and made to our own formulations,” Coulter says.
“We have 20 years’ experience working with leading international raw materials companies to ensure we have the most up-to-date ingredients and our products to do the job very effectively.”
The company, which was the overall winner at the recent business awards run by Leitrim County Enterprise Board as part of the National Enterprise Awards Programme, is also planning a range of indoor cleaning products.
Coulter says the big push now is to get the company’s name known to domestic buyers. “We started our marketing programme in September last year and put a big effort into getting our first listings,” Coulter says.
“Once you start getting positive feedback it opens doors and we are now listed by Connaught Gold Co-op, Donegal Creameries, Topline stores and by a number of independent stores.
“For the exterior products our target market is co-ops, DIY stores and builders merchants. With the indoor products, the aim is to get listed by SuperValu for example.
“We were fortunate in already having some of the equipment we needed – it was a question of using it to supply a new market.
“We don’t underestimate the challenge involved in getting into retail, but so far we have found consumers to be very supportive of Irish-made products, and all going well we expect to increase job numbers at the company this year.”