We're all a bit fatigued after a full year of the Pandemic.There's been so much bad news everywhere we turn.
The team here at Drogheda Chamber have supported andcelebrated the resilience, creativity and courage of our entrepreneurs over thelast year. And now it's time to celebrate those that have been nimble inadapting to the changing situation. Those that have pivoted. That have used thelockdowns as opportunities to future fit and develop their businesses further.
Over the coming weeks we will interview some of thesebusinesses and share some of the positivity and good news that we see.
This week we are talking with Andrew McCabe from RobertMcCabe Packaging.
Tell us about your pre pandemic Business status
AM: We are Robert McCabe Ltd and we supply packagingproducts to small independent businesses including food businesses, butchers,deli’s and coffee shops. Retail businesses including boutiques, clothing storesand also industrial businesses. The company was founded in 1932 by my Grandad Robert McCabe Senior. We've been trading for 89 years! My dad Robert McCabejunior joined the business in the 1970s and I joined in 2017.
What was the initial impact on your business & how did you react?
AM: The pandemic resulted in all of our retail customershaving to close. During this time business was quiet, so I took the decision toget a new website created with an online shop. This website gave the company a huge boost by improving our online visibility and opened the doors to a handfulof new local customers. During the pandemic, food businesses such as butchers, takeaways and coffee shops all remained open and were busier than ever. For our business the loss of sales in the retail sector has been massively outweighed by the increased sales in the food sector. So in many ways covid-19 has actually benefited our business because it resulted in an increased demand forfood packaging.
What changes did you make in order to cope or pivot / and to adapt to the situation?
AM: I invested in a new website so that customers could order our products online. I then signed up with a courier company to allow us to ship our products all over Ireland. After a year of having the website I realised that we were not getting much traffic to it. So I took the decision to hire a marketing agency to help improve our page rankings and SEO performance. This year I have doubled the company’s following on Facebook by creating more engaging content, highlighting the company’s great history and also running online competitions. I have also introduced a range of eco-friendly products including compostable coffee cups, cardboard boxes and brown paper.
What changes did you make in order to cope or pivot / andto adapt to the situation?
AM: I invested in a new website so that customers couldorder our products online. I then signed up with a courier company to allow usto ship our products all over Ireland. After a year of having the website I realised that we were not getting much traffic to it. So I took the decision to hire a marketing agency to help improve our page rankings and SEO performance. This year I have doubled the company’s following on Facebook by creating more engaging content, highlighting the company’s great history and also running online competitions. I have also introduced a range of eco-friendly products including compostable coffee cups, cardboard boxes and brown paper.
What supports, grants, aids helped the most?
AM: We received a grant from the local enterprise office tocover 50% of the cost of our new website. I was accepted onto a superior retailprogramme where I was given a business mentor to help develop a business plan. We met every 2 weeks via a zoom call and I received some great tips and advice on how to achieve my business goals.
How are you feeling about business as we begin to plan toemerge from the lockdowns, and as vaccinations roll out?
AM: I am feeling very positive about business as we havejust had a very successful years sales. Our sales increased by 20% on theprevious year and we are on course to make a profit for first time in nearly a decade. The new website has provided us with lots of new local customers andimproved our online visibility. I am very confident that if we continue to progress like this we should have some very good years of business ahead of us.
Finally … What's your top piece of advice for otherbusinesses?
AM: During a time of uncertainty like this it is veryimportant for businesses to seek new avenues to generate sales from. For manybusinesses this means investing in an online store. All businesses in this day and age should have some form of online presence such as a website or Facebookpage. Nowadays all potential customers are using Google to find the product or service that they want. If you don’t have an online presence you have no credibility and customers will go elsewhere. I think that this is also a good time for business owners to seek help and advice. There are many online courses being offered by the Local Enterprise Office free of charge to help businessesto cope during the current pandemic.
If you'd like to be featured in this series - We'd love to hear from you
@Drogheda & District Chamber.