Kelso Agencies will celebrate 40 years in business this year. The leading bathroom, plumbing and heating distributor was established in 1979 by Jim Kelso, a well-known character from the industry. The company’s current owner, Northstone Group, took over the business in 2005 and has maintained, and improved upon the standards that the founder set.
“The company has always been about long-term partnerships with our customers and suppliers. For example, we still distribute for manufacturers today who have been with us since the company was first established” said Stephen Fee, General Manager. “We aren’t in this for short-term gains and would prefer to work closely with quality manufacturers and grow their product ranges organically.
“Through this philosophy, we have developed some market leading brands to firmly establish themselves in the Northern Irish market.
“It’s a daily challenge but, I suppose, the fact we’re still in business and operating strongly after 40 years shows just how effective our philosophy has been.”
They are also set to relocate to new bigger premises later this year, a short distance away but remaining in their current base at Kilroot Business Park, Carrickfergus.
“We have simply outgrown our current premises and now is the right time for a move,” explained Stephen. “The new facilities are more than double the size which will enable us to develop new product ranges and improve our already excellent stock holding and service.”
Quality counts at Kelso Agencies and a look at the company’s impressive product range proves this. Supplying a full range of bathroom, plumbing and heating products to plumbers’ merchants and bathroom retailers across Northern Ireland, the leading distributor represents some world-class manufacturers.
Quality is the common denominator throughout the product range, with Kelso Agencies resisting the short- term attraction of sourcing low-cost alternatives and a ‘race to the bottom’.
“That’s not a road we’ve ever wanted to go down,” explained Stephen Fee, General Manager. “We’re aware that we need to be competitive on price but we will never compromise on quality.” The quality of the product range is enhanced by traditional levels of service that has helped maintain long-term relationships with plumbers’ merchants and bathroom retailers.
Stephen added, “With the increase in multi-nationals and buying groups, our route to market has become more challenging. However, that is where our stock availability, service and product knowledge makes such a difference.
“We have superb stock levels anyway, but the fact that around 98% of our product range is also stocked in GB or Ireland just enhances our overall service. We have a range of niche products and are developing that all the time.
“The industry is constantly evolving, so we have to ensure we have the latest products available – it’s definitely not a case of resting on our laurels.”