After 25 years working in the electrical supplies industry, Neil Blair decided to strike out on his own in order to deliver a level of customer focused service that he felt was lacking in many parts of the sector.
“I believed we could do things differently by delivering a customer-centred service,” says Neil, “By listening to what our clients want, putting that on the shelves and keeping it stocked. We’re not trying to sell people something they don’t want. If a customer requests something we don’t have we will put it in stock for them.”
This fresh approach to customer service started trading as Northern Electrical Supplies (NES) in the Spring of 2016 at Inspire Business Park, Dundonald, Belfast.
Starting with just two staff members, Gordon Simpson (a former colleague) joined as Director in the Spring of 2017. Since then, the workforce has grown to eight, including Michael Gribbons and Trevor Newton, both well known within the industry, consolidating over 100 years of experience and they are actively recruiting for more staff with plans to expand even more in the future.
Championing new brands
Looking back to the early days, Neil says, “While there were some established brands who were happy to support us when we first started, many weren’t interested in a company of our size. As a young business we had to look to emerging companies to supply us,” admits Neil, “We looked at lesser-known options and have developed those lines and really put them out into the marketplace.
“That’s how we grew our business; by building those brands and by delivering a genuine personal touch to our customer service.”
Five years on from its foundation and NES have marked the occasion with a refurbishment of their trade counter. “It’s been long overdue,” admits Neil. “We’ve been operating out of a premises that wasn’t designed for our sort of business and we have quickly outgrown the existing layout.
“At the start of the year we decided we would refurbish the trade counter. We have been operating under the radar for a few years and felt that now was the time to raise our profile.”
The original Easter refurb date was inevitably pushed back by the covid-19 lockdown. “We chose instead to carry out the works in July, traditionally one of the quietest months in the year,” says Gordon, “But it turned out to be one of our busiest ever months!”
They worked through while the refurbishments were going on. “Now we’ve got the stock back in and we’re ready to showcase it,” he says. “We are still growing and this is reflected in our updated trade counter.”
Feedback on the refurb has been great, says Gordon. “Our customers appreciate the improvements we have made to the trade counter. It’s a welcoming, covid-secure environment with a much better layout with the same friendly and experienced staff that they’re familiar with.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to all our customers for their patience and understanding throughout the refurbishment work. We’re looking forward to continuing to deliver that personal touch for many years to come.”
As well as electrical supplies NES offer these services:
Lighting design, Site surveys, Energy surveys, Heating surveys, LED lighting, Test equipment, Cables.