THE secret to a successful business can best be summed up through two all important words; trust and reliability. Few businesses in North Cork enshrine those two attributes more than Mallow Motor Factors, which has been successfully serving the needs of motorists across the area for more than three decades.
Founded by Ted Breen from Scartaglen and Ben Finn from Lismire, Mallow Motor Factors opened up their premises at 20 O’Brien Street on April 30, 1979.
Ted had spent many years on the road working for a motor parts supplier, regularly meeting Ben as a customer who worked as a storeman. They spotted a yawning gap in the market for a professional and reliable motor factor business in Mallow and pooled their extensive knowledge of the industry to set up the fledgling business. Many may have considered this a brave move given that during the late 1970s Ireland was in the grip of recession not unlike the one we are experiencing today. Undeterred, the duo quickly established a thriving business in Mallow, with Ted also travelling as far afield as Dingle and West Limerick selling and delivering parts and Ben covering the greater North Cork region.
Despite a petrol strike during its first six months in operation, Mallow Motor Factors went from strength to strength, rapidly establishing a well-deserved reputation as the ‘go to’ place for motor parts. Much of this was down to Ted and Ben’s determination to offer the most comprehensive range of stock possible at a time when a stock order would only come down from Dublin once a month to Mallow train station.
To ensure a regular supply of parts to Mallow, Ben would replenish and boost their inventory further by travelling to the capital three times a month to collect stock, ensuring that they had the parts customers wanted, when they needed them.
In August 1981 the pair opened Mitchelstown Motor Factors after it became apparent another gap existed in the market there. During the mid 80's Buttevant based courier John O’Regan started providing a twice weekly delivery to Mallow bringing parts down from Dublin. Over the following decade this service was increased to a daily delivery and is now a twice daily service.
From day one theirs was a family orientated business, with Ted’s wife Josephine ensuring that the paperwork and accounts were kept in order. As Ted and Ben’s children grew up they too began working in the business from the time they were old enough to see over the counter. That tradition is carried forward to this very day, with Ted’s children PJ and Miriam now running the Mallow branch, his daughters Elaine and Nora running the Mitchelstown branch and Ben’s son Niall running the Cork City branch which was opened at the Ballycurren Industrial Estate in Grange in June 2009.
Sadly, Ted passed away in 2005 but his legacy lives on through the three branches that he and Ben worked so hard to establish, which currently employ 14 people between them.
In September of this year Mallow Motors Factors relocated to a larger premises on the Limerick Road in order to keep up with demand. Nora explained this was not the only reason behind the decision to move to the new premises. “In the early days the fact that we were situated so close to the former Mallow Mart complex meant we drew a huge trade from the farming community who would come to the town en masse each Friday,” said Nora
“The loss of the mart and subsequent developments created a severe parking problem for our customers. We now have more than 70 parking spaces outside the Limerick Road premises,” she added.
While the location of Mallow Motor Factors may have changed, its core ethos has remained the same for more than three-decades; something that everyone involved in the business takes enormous pride in. “There have been massive changes in the industry over the years, mainly with the speed of availability of parts however we take great pride in our cumultative knowledge and experience, we also try to give the customer choice, quality and value these being the core principles that Dad and Ben instilled in us and that have stood the test of time over the years,” said Nora.
For example Mallow Motor Factors has an inventory of more than 100,000 part numbers on its extensive computer system, a large number of which are available ex stock the remainder can be ordered and delivered within 24-hours. They also have vans on the road every day delivering parts to garages within their catchment area.
“For us, being able to get parts to our customers at short notice is vitally important. Not only does it allow us provide a thorough and professional service, it also means that vehicles are fixed and back on the road in as brief a time as a possible,” said Nora.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that in an ever evolving market we have never lost sight of the fact that our customers needs always take top priority,” she added.
The list of parts they supply is as exhaustive as it is impressive, with literally tens of thousands of parts available at the click of a computer button. These include service items such as filters, spark plugs, wiper blades antifreeze and a comprehensive range of oils. They also stock an impressive range of heavier duty items including clutches, braking components, steering and suspension parts, shocks and belt drive spares. The shop is also packed to the rafters with an impressive range of accessories from bodywork waxes and seat covers to bulbs and batteries.
Just as importantly they carry instantly recognisable brand names including Bosch, Luk, FAG, Delphi, Bosal. Holts/Simoniz, Gates and Ring to name but a few. They also stock an extensive range of in-car entertainment systems by leading names including Pioneer, Sony and Kenwood.In short Nora is not exaggerating when she says Mallow Motor Factors can “provide everything you need for both the interior and exterior of your car when you need it”.