A 40-year long commitment to providing clients with the highest level of customer service has ensured AJ Plumbing is one of the most respected plumbing and bathroom suppliers in the country. This year, the company is celebrating 40 years in business. For a company that began operating out of a shed that today boasts four branches across Northern Ireland, AJ Plumbing has certainly come a long way.
AJ Plumbing Supplies Ltd was established in 1979 by Newry man, Jim O’Brien. After working for several years in A Shiells, Jim made the decision to start his own business. He started working from a couple of small sheds at his parents’ home on 38 Chapel Road in Newry before building a purpose-built property to accommodate the quickly growing business. Along with supplying plumbing materials, Jim decided to build a bathroom showroom which would be open to both the trade and the public. At this stage Jim had a number of employees working for him in sales, store work and delivery drivers. It wasn’t long before the company had outgrown its limited space at his parents’ house and the decision was made to purchase a much larger property in the Greenbank Ind Estate. That rapid growth can be attributed to the company ethos which remains as true today as it did 40 years ago – the customer is number one, no matter what. In 1993, premises previously owned by Smith Concrete were purchased. This site in Greenbank also had room for expansion which, in future years, proved a very wise decision.
The business continued to grow year on year when the opportunity arose to purchase stores in Banbridge, which were converted into plumbing and heating stores and a bathroom showroom.
Due to the success of both Newry and Banbridge depots, another two premises were purchased in Ballynahinch and Rathfriland Road in Newry. The Ballynahinch site followed the Newry and Banbridge models, with plumbing and heating sales along with another bathroom showroom. The Rathfriland Road site was named “Elite Bathrooms”, specialising in high end, branded named products.
AJ Plumbing’s impressive growth over the past 40 years can be attributed to Jim’s commitment to the customer and his insistence that a diverse range of products is stocked at all times.
“My father always says, carrying the right stock is the key to success. A lot of our customers have told us on numerous occasions that they return to AJ Plumbing time and time again because of the large range of stock we carry. Other suppliers may not carry the same vast stock range that we do and that’s a key factor in the level of repeat business we enjoy,” said Clifford O’Brien, Director at AJ Plumbing.
The customer comes first at AJ Plumbing. “I believe our success is down to the family values that we have managed to retain over the past 40 years. Building and maintaining good relationships with new and existing clients has allowed us to grow and develop and that’s how we have expanded the business and opened our branches in Banbridge and Ballynahinch.”
The emphasis on the customer remains today. “My father would have always looked after the customer, even out of hours. That’s something we strive to maintain. Jim is still involved with the day to day running of the business and has built a company very much based on traditional family values and that’s something we continue to value today.”