Reaching 40 years in business is an incredible achievement especially for one that has relied heavily on the construction industry down through the years.
As we all know, when a recession hits these shores, the building trade is hit first and hit hardest, so to come through these sort of tribulations is a testament to the quality of service that a company provides.
For this month’s edition of Building Ireland, we profile Enniscorthy based A Cloke & Sons Ltd and speak to Paul Cloke about how the business is doing at the moment.
Established in 1979 by Andy Cloke who still plays a part in the business to this day, this family run business focuses on the construction of agricultural sheds and storage solutions through to industrial units.
These days Andy’s sons Paul and Ciaran oversee the day to day operations of the business with other son Alan in charge of erecting. The Enniscorthy based business fabricates, delivers and erects all types of Agricultural and Industrial buildings.
The company stock a wide range of materials as well as manufacturing their products with the likes of steel: Angles, Flats, RSJ’s, Channels, Plates, Box & Circular Hollow Sections, Mesh, Round and Square Solid; manufacture all types of Gutters, Flashings etc, Standard or One-Off’s and carry one of the largest stocks of Flat Sheets in the Southeast.
They also supply all types of sheeting: Insulated Panel, Grant and Non Grant Agricultural Sheeting, PVS Cladding, Fibre Cement and Roof lights to match.
Paul revealed that the industrial side of the business is very busy at the moment, while the agricultural sector is slow enough at present.
“We are extremely busy at the moment, with the majority of the work in the industrial sector. We have a few projects ongoing at the moment. The agricultural side of the business is quiet enough. There are grants available to farmers, but there is a very small uptake on these and it is a sign that the farming industry is struggling slightly at the moment.
“This has a knock-on effect for the likes of ourselves, but we are fortunate to have the industrial work to keep us going. Generally when one is busy, the other is quiet and vice versa, but there is never a time that we have no work.”
Some of the industrial work ongoing at the moment include showrooms for Cooney Furlong, two horse riding arenas and refurbishment work on a number of industrial units in Enniscorthy, Cork and Dublin.
“We have six refurbishing jobs ongoing in Enniscorthy which keeps us very local. We are fortunate in the fact that we never have to travel to far for our work. There are customers with us from the start and the majority of them would be with us many years now. We have always placed a huge emphasis on looking after our customers and that has stood to us over the years.”
Being so many years in business has brought A Cloke & Sons Ltd a wealth of experience, while the staff of ten are very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise.
“The lads here are with us years. They know the work inside out and are very competent at what they do. They would be well known to a lot of our customers which helps too.”
Working in the construction industry means that there is a big focus on health and safety with Paul revealing that they have never had a major incident.
“We have a very good safety record and we place a huge emphasis on ensuring the safety of our workers and those in contact with the site.”
Paul states that they will not take on a job just for the sake of doing it. “If we can’t do it properly then we won’t take it on at all. We have developed a reputation for providing quality work and most of our work has been obtained through word of mouth which we find is the best form of advertising.”
Paul relayed to us that there is scope for development within the business and that is something that they are looking into at the moment.
“The aim is to increase the capacity by 50% which would allow us to carry out more work, but at the same time, we are conscious to stay medium sized as we feel that we can keep control of the business better that way.”
The Cloke family also have another string to their bow in Stagecoach stage hire which is Ireland’s leading portable and mobile stage hire company. They rent moveable stages to all counties in Ireland for festivals and other events. They can supply sound and lighting as an inclusive package with their stage units, and only used qualified and experienced personnel.
“Almost 20 years ago we became aware of the need for mobile outdoor stages in Ireland to cater for the growing amount for festivals and events. Scaffold and built-up stages are slow to erect and disassemble. Curtainside artic trailers are unprofessional looking, and have serious electrical and other safety risks.
“With this in mind we designed and built our own first purpose made stage unit. Its overall length is 12.2 meters. With an ever increasing market we decided to build 3 more units: 2 are 12.2 meters in length, and the other is 9 meters long. Since expanding our range we have hired our stages in every county in Ireland. Our fleet includes three tractor units in addition to our four stages. This is not a part of the business that we promote too much. Our reputation is out there so the business comes to us, there is plenty of competition in the market now.”
Paul concluded by stating: “We are happy with the direction of the business. We are at a stage where we can pick and choose our work and once we look after our customers, then the future of the business should be safe.”
A Cloke & Sons Ltd
Tel (line 1): ++353 (0)53 92 55245,
Tel (line 2): ++353 (0)53 92 55800
Fax: ++353 (0)53 92 55455
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 5, September/October 2019