Northern Ireland’s online retailer the Rug House, originally set up in county Armagh, is set to take its virtual business into the real world with a significant investment of £350,000 in its first bricks and mortar store in Newry.
The company which ships a record 150,000 rugs per year to 30 countries worldwide is capitalising on its major online success, which has powered business growth from selling on eBay to shipping over 3,000 rugs a week worldwide.
The new purpose-built Rug House in Newry will have more than 1,600 rugs on display in a bespoke showroom which will serve the needs of customers looking to enhance their home or office interiors.
Based in Carnbane Industrial Estate and with 23 staff, the local business has already doubled its work force in two years.
The 60,000 sq ft warehouse will stock more than 300,000 rugs, which the company will use to support a brand new sales drive across Ireland.
Currently 98 per cent of the Rug House’s sales are outside Northern Ireland with the team sourcing rugs from China, Turkey and Belgium, to meet the diverse needs of a growing customer base in England, Spain, France, Italy and the USA. The new store in Newry will offer shoppers a chance to view the full range of quality rugs that have until now only been offered online.
Paul Vallely, owner The Rug House, said: “Our focus to date has been on growing the business online and this has definitely paid off both through increasing sales and job creation. Customer requirements are changing and while we will continue to deliver our products globally and invest in our online sales, we recognise that there is a demand from customers who want to see the rugs before they purchase.
“The new store will showcase some of our own range of rugs that we have invested in developing with global partners as well as give us the chance to display a wider range of accessories that compliment the trends in interiors.”
Started by ambitious brother and sister team Paul and Clare Vallely and now employing 23 full time staff to cater to the demands of the fast-growing business, the Rug House was initially an online venture that has grown rapidly through the dedication of the pair who took on their first employee in March 2009.
Mayor of Newry Councillor Daire Hughes helped Paul and Clare Vallely officially open the store, which will celebrate with an opening sale offering customers a 25% discount on all their rugs in store on Saturday 1st November.
Councillor Daire Hughes, said: “I am absolutely delighted to officially open the Rug House, which is a great addition to the retail scene in Newry. It is great to see a local success bringing more jobs to the town and we will continue to support them in their endeavours.”
The Vallelys started working in a shed beside their parents’ house but rapid growth they made the move to renting a 10,000 sq ft warehouse to facilitate increasing stock levels. By 2012 they employed 10 full time staff and had built up supplier relationships in Turkey and China that has led them to becoming one of the UK and Ireland’s leading online rug retailers.
The driven team at the Rug House Newry were recently recognised for their exporting success at the DANI Awards and also won the coveted UTV Business Eye Award for SME of the Year believe that they must tap into both online and traditional retail to push for further growth.
Clare Vallely, founder of the Rug House Newry said, “We cannot wait to welcome customers to our store in Newry and will be celebrating with a 25% discount across all our rugs on Saturday 1st November.
“The success of our business has been down to offering excellent quality at an affordable price, we will continue to do this both online and in our new store, where we hope to showcase our products to a local audience. Our plan is to invest more both online and in our store to ensure that the Rug House continues to grow and deliver for our ever-expanding customer base.”
The Rug House is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm. Visit www.therughouse.co.uk for more information and to view the range of rug designs on offer.