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Location, location, location

What's best for the west

INNOVATOR Tommy Griffith, CEO of PEL, says their location in Ballindine is vital for ease of access to their markets.

When deciding on a new premises, access to the motorway at Tuam was a key factor for PEL

Case study
Edwin McGreal

When Tommy Griffith was deciding on expanding from PEL’s first base outside Balla, his choice of Ballindine was instructive.
The key driver for the move to the borderline with Galway was simple – quick and convenient access to the motorway in Tuam.
It helps to underscore how important infrastructure is to businesses in Mayo.
PEL finished their move to Ballindine in August and access to markets is now far more convenient than when they were in Balla. The company provide a range of waste reduction products including glass bottle crushers for the hospitality sector and solar smart bins.
Company CEO Tommy Griffith was Mayo Person of the Year in 2016 and was nominated for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Emerging Category award in 2009.  
“Being close to the motorway was a huge factor in our move to Ballindine,” Tommy Griffith told The Mayo News. “When we were looking at a location point I wanted something that was closer to Galway and closer to Dublin. On our business, even on the domestic market, 50 percent of our business is in Dublin, in hospitality and on the solar bin side, Fingal Council are one of our biggest customers at the moment, Galway City Council are one of our biggest customers at the moment. So it’s access to market that is vital,” he said.
“You have to be able to send machines out confidently. I used to say before when we’d be shipping out of Balla, if any damage was going to be done, it was between our yard and Balla. Now they are on good roads,” he added.
Roads is not the only infrastructure PEL are reliant on. They were also fortunate that the building they acquired in Ballindine is right beside the broadband exchange, something which has become even more important during Covid-19 restrictions and highlights the importance of high-speed broadband as an enabler for enterprise in the region.
“Broadband is another one of the major reasons why we moved here.The most important infrastructure for PEL at the moment is broadband. We’re doing video meetings daily out of here. We’re developing software so we need to be able to send and receive data. We’re monitoring our bins from here.
“We need high speed broadband. Now, more than ever, because we cannot travel, video calls are so important and so is broadband then. Broadband here, you couldn’t fault it, it’s excellent. Our broadband in Balla was a struggle,” he said.

Flying high
Another key infrastructure for Mr Griffith has been Knock Airport, from when he setup the company in 2005.
“Knock Airport gave us access to the UK straightaway. When we look at exporting, I could hop on a plane on a Monday morning and come back on Tuesday afternoon. It was as easy get to London as it was get to Dublin. We have a UK office in north London and it is easy to access. Even if you are living in Dublin, it is still hassle to get to Dublin Airport. I’ve gone into office in Balla on a Monday morning and left it and I’d still be in London at 11.30am/12 noon. No stress, no hassle.”
Choosing Mayo to launch his business was because it is home, for the native of Brownhall, Balla but also for practical reasons also.
“The cost of setup is a big one. If I was in Dublin City in 2005 and trying to get the same size warehouse, or even in 2020, your overheads would be too high. You’d be hung before you start. Cost of set up was reduced,” he said.
He spoke of the benefits of quality of life in Mayo for his workforce as another factor.
Griffith credits his upbringing on the family farm and working with McHale Engineering in Ballinrobe as ‘a great education’ and is fulsome in his praise for local enterprise supports, both formal and informal, in the county, both in 2005 and now.
“Those supports are excellent. We dealt with great guys like Frank Fullard and Padraig McDermott. What the council have done with Mayo.ie to promote business in Mayo, promote a culture, promote sport and business is excellent. I think we’re further ahead than any other county in the country on that line. Anyone starting out business today, Mayo supports outweigh anyone else.
“There’s a lot of successful businesses in Mayo, there’s massive mentoring going on. I know myself if I want any advice, there’s loads of businesses who are exporting around the world from Mayo and I could ring them for advice. We’d all share what we’re doing, ideas and different ways of doing it. Where I might see an opportunity where I’m not in that field, I could contact other guys and say there’s an opportunity there, it might be worth yer while looking at it or vice versa. In bigger cities, most people wouldn’t know what other businesses in the same industrial estate are doing. There wouldn’t be that comradeship.”