Being a locally owned newspaper, the Inishowen Independent is keen to support and promote local businesses. Our new Business in Profile article running in conjunction with the Buncrana Chamber of Commerce is an occasional series celebrating our local entrepreneurs throughout Inishowen. Chamber of Commerce administrator Rona McLaughlin acknowledges that these are challenging times for business. “Businesses need to keep their profiles raised and keep positive in order to survive. Working in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce can make the difference, ensuring members concerns are put on the agenda and providing support and networking.” Rona can be contacted on 074 9321720. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.buncranachamber.com/
IN PROFILE – TERENCE AND DERMOT DOHERTY FROM RESTEX BEDDING
March is national bed month and as you know there is nothing better than snuggling up in your own bed. Not getting a good night sleep affects our mood, our ability to perform and our health and having a good quality comfortable mattress can make all the difference. The Inishowen Independent decided to visit Chamber members Dermot and Terence Doherty from Restex Bedding in Buncrana to find out what they knew about getting a good night sleep.
For nearly sixty years, three generations of the Doherty Family from Buncrana have been involved in the bed-making industry. Paddy Doherty (grandfather) learned the craft from bed maker Fred Hegarty in Bridgend. Having developed the art and skill of good mattress making, Paddy set up his own workshop locally and later went on to buy the Derry Bedding Company.
Paddy’s son Terence has been working in the business for over thirty-five years. “I grew up in the industry and started off hand making the mattresses with my dad,” explained Terence, who is married to Rosemary.
With a few years experience under his belt, Terence decided to set up the well renowned Restex Company making sure that he incorporated his father’s skills and attention to detail. “My father taught me that craftsmanship is very important, quality is everything.” Terence tells us, “I set up the Restex Brand in 1976. I wanted to continue what my father had started. It took time to build the business but I always had a vision of manufacturing and having showroom units of my own.”
Terence has seen a lot of changes in the industry over the years. “In the past, beds were all hand made. Now there is a big investment in modern machinery. This doesn’t affect quality” Terence assures me. “It simply means we can produce high quality beds, of the same exacting standards my father made, at a more competitive and affordable price.”
“We only produce and sell beds for our own shops and don’t wholesale, which means that our beds are exclusive and competitively priced and we can keep a very close eye on quality and customer satisfaction” he continues.
Terence’s son Dermot, entered the business in 1987 after leaving school as early as he could “ I was a very restless pupil at school,” he says. “I would spend my time looking out of the classroom window and couldn’t wait to go and work in the factory with my dad. He started me sweeping floors and made me work my way up by learning every aspect of the business, and it was worth it….. he knew what he was doing. When I became a director in 1992, I was familiar with the business from the roots up.”
Dermot, who is married to Caitriona, has three children, David, Pauric and daughter Órlaith and is a keen racing driver. He has taken part in competitions on major circuits around UK and Ireland. He enjoys giving his son David the benefit of his years of experience and steering him into the world of Kart racing. Dermot puts the same amount of dedication and determination that he puts into his racing, into the bed-making business.
“After 58 years of bed-making, we know our market, we believe in our product and we invest in our staff and machinery.” Dermot tells me. “It is a business I was proud to join.”
As we chat they show me around the Restex workshop where the beds are made. I am very impressed with the well-designed environment, which feels fresh, light and airy. I am also sold on the natural and organic fabrics and materials they use in the manufacturing of their mattresses.
I ask the father and son what motivates them in their work? “My sense of satisfaction has come from building the company up through word of mouth” Terence says after a moment’s pause. “You know, when people buy a bed from us, then send other people into the shop on referral to buy one for themselves. That makes me feel that we are giving our customers the best possible products and service.”
Dermot agrees, “We feel our beds are superior to everyone else’s. Our main aim is to offer not only the best quality mattresses in the North west, but also the best in Ireland. I think we have done that”.
Dermot designs all the mattresses himself. “I decide how the beds are made up and choose what fillings and springs to put in them,” he explains. “We source top quality natural organic materials for the mattress. We use memory foam for some of the padding, which is extremely durable and hardwearing. The covers are all neutral colours with no heavy dyes. All the beds are designed to be breathable as air circulation is important to keep the mattress fresh.”
It is easy to see he is a man who is passionate about his work. Dermot continues, “The springs are oil coated to reduce noise and friction and also increases the mattress life and the hard wearing material covering and padding ensures the springs stay in the mattress where they are supposed too. I don’t want our customers getting a nasty surprise with a spring popping up through the bed.” Dermot shows me the thick material, which covers the mattresses, and I can see what he means.
Dermot’s enthusiasm for his business meant that even on holiday he likes to check out the market. A top store in America inspired their latest range of sumptuous beds. “ I went to a bed shop in Chicago and researched their deepest, most luxurious mattresses. At the time the deepest we did was 11 inches but the shop had mattresses up to 22 inches deep! On my return I invested in machinery to build mattresses up to that depth and more. This has helped us develop a luxurious product that will last for years.”
Terence thinks it is a good idea to change beds every 7 years. “Not because they wear out, but because of hygiene.” He tells us. You can’t put them in a washing machine so it is healthier to replace the bed altogether. As you change so do your mattress needs.”
Dermot agrees, “Every-one is different, comfort is a very personal thing. Some people like a hard mattress, others a soft one. If you have a bad back you could benefit from an orthopaedic mattress.”
As I leave we walk through the show rooms and I admire all the bedroom furniture for sale. There are different products to suit all tastes, styles and pockets.
“We have two state of the art showrooms and a workshop and Restex currently employs 16 staff.” Dermot says with a casual wave of his arm. “I really appreciate our staff and it is great to employ locals. All of the staff members know how high our standards are and some staff have been here a long time. Paul McCarron our production manager has been working with us for 25 years so he knows exactly the standards we work to. His brother Brendan works here too and is in charge of the wood work department.”
We stop so that he can show me a new mattress. It looks pretty luxurious and Dermot insists that I give it a test. It feels a bit like floating on a cloud. I am totally supported with an even distribution so that there is no pressure on shoulders or hips. “This is our latest innovative product called the Hilton Mattress, and you can see it is a top of the range mattress with a sumptuous feel, just right for a good nights sleep.” I close my eyes as the memory foam caresses my contours and grunt in agreement. “It has just gone on display this week in our showrooms and will be available in sizes from single to superking and made to measure if that doesn’t suit” Dermot says enthusiastically.
There is a long moments pause. Reluctantly I open my eyes and get off the mattress. I really could use a new mattress, I think to myself as I leave the show room.
You can visit the new Restex show room via their new website from April 1st. contact 074 93 63999