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Connacht Tribune

Galway electric stairs company bucks Brexit to grow in UK market

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A Galway man who has cornered the market with his inventive electric attic stairs is to reveal how he has managed to buck Brexit and grow his company on the lucrative UK market.

Peter Morrow always had a dream to start his own business was able to make this dream come true after he took redundancy in 2011.

So with his two business partners, he founded Loftease Attic Stairs Ltd, working from a shed in North Galway, as they fine-tuned the design of their Skylark Electric Attic Stairs for two years, before releasing it into the UK and Irish markets.

The Skylark fully electric attic stairs – manufactured at their base in Killaloonty outside Tuam – means there is no more heavy lifting or trying to reach over your head to pull down a rickety old ladder, with no manual effort needed, works with ease by remote control.

And despite the economic uncertainty on the back of Britain’s vote to pull out of the EU, Peter and his company have continued to thrive through reinvention – a story he will recount at a public event as part of Local Enterprise Week.

When Brexit was announced in 2016, Loftease had 18 agents in the UK, working in a market which comprised 90% of sales.

From September 2015 until June 2016, sales were steadily increasing every month, – and then the door closed, as 80% of the sales stopped and everything slowed down.

“We had to look elsewhere; we could not wait for the UK market to pick up. We had bills to pay, so we turned to the US, as our US patent for the Skylark Electric Attic Stairs had been granted in August 2016,” said Peter.

“Now eight months on from Brexit we are happy to report that our product has been launched in the US, through a large US based company and sales in the UK are back to where they were in February 2016,” he added.

Part of the tie-in to Local Enterprise Week is the fact that Loftease has received financial supports from the Galway Local Enterprise Office to set up the business,  as well as LEO support for export trips – and Skylark also took part on the Lean Launch management development programme.

Local Enterprise Week runs from March 5 to 10, with Peter’s insight into adapting for survival is one of the highlights of an event entitled ‘’How will BREXIT affect your business and our Region’ in the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on Friday week, March 10.

The LEO has also announced a series of exciting initiatives aimed at stimulating business activity throughout Galway city and county and assisting those who are currently planning to export or are already exporting to the UK.

The ultimate aim being to create jobs among small businesses and also to encourage those with a business idea to pursue their dream.

Other key events during LEW include an Introduction to Tendering with Intertrade Ireland, which takes place in the Clayton Hotel next Wednesday, March 8, from 9am to 1pm; and Social Media for Business, taking place in Letterfrack next Monday, March 6, from 10am to 12pm.

For the full calendar of events, more information or to book an event please check out: www.localenterprise.ie/galway or (091) 50 90 90.

Connacht Tribune

Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary

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Crowds flock to the Fairgreen at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.

RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.

Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.

“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close  – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.

The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.

Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.

“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.

“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.

Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

A remarkable rally sees St Thomas’ reel in the ’Bridge

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Clarinbridge's Conor Lee tries to shake off the attentions of St Thomas' Victor Manso during Saturday's Senior A Group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Thomas’ 4-20

Clarinbridge 4-17

DARREN KELLY AT KENNY PARK

NOTHING at ‘stake’ but pride and last year’s two senior hurling championship finalists had plenty of that on Saturday as St. Thomas and Clarinbridge served up a thriller in their final group game.

Both teams were already guaranteed places in the knockout stages but for the winners, a path straight through to the quarter-finals proper was the reward and they played like that meant everything.

Obviously, neither side wanted to show weakness ahead of a potential showdown later in the year. The contest even had a half-time scuffle that resulted in yellow cards for St. Thomas’ duo John Headd and Conor Cooney.

Despite all that and the changing weather, the hurling was the only item for discussion afterwards. Three first half Clarinbridge goals gave them a 3-10 to 0-11 interval lead.  Four green flags for St. Thomas in the second period reminded the county that they still are the team to beat.

And that was the talking point before throw-in following their 22-match unbeaten streak ending with a heavy defeat to Turloughmore two weeks previously. And it wasn’t looking any better for St. Thomas’ when TJ Brennan struck a second minute goal for Clarinbridge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Country Living

Recalling strange times that ‘shook up’ our lives

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

THE other day while doing another of those clear-outs of old documents that are well past their sell-by-date, I came across a couple of letters from my employer, which jolted me back into another world . . . but still a quite recent one.

Their purpose was to indicate that I needed to show up for work in-person (an essential employee if you don’t mind!) and if I was stopped at a Garda Covid checkpoint, then I could produce this piece of paperwork. We really did go through some strange times.

There are occasions too when I leave my desk and just for a split-second think that I’ve forgotten to don my mask. That same feeling also crosses my mind at times as I enter shops or other public places but then I realise that’s all very much of ‘yesterday’s news’.

Reminders still persist of those black days across the country mostly on visits to healthcare settings like pharmacies, GP surgeries or nursing homes, where staff still wear masks, and visitors are encouraged to do the same.

It takes me back to a Sunday evening on March 15, 2020, in my local watering hole less than 48-hours before the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, when we were all highly sceptical about any pubs closing down.

We reassured ourselves too that such a development could never happen in a country noted for ‘the craic’ as our traditional day of national celebration approached. In our innocence, we thought we were wise old sods . . . but we had gotten things spectacularly wrong.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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