Business Focus: Ian Kells

Name: Ian Kells

Business Name: SD Kells

Business Location: Enniskillen, Lisnaskea, Irvinestown, Omagh, Lurgan, Banbridge, Portadown, Newtownards, Larne, Belfast, Armagh, Downpatrick & Newry


How long have you been in business? SD Kells have been in business since 1928

How many staff do you employ? We employ 173 staff across all branches

What would you say are your strengths? Geographical spread, customer service, flexibility, staff loyalty and customer loyalty through the generations. We offer a big variety of different products and different departments.

What would you say are your weaknesses? Structure, it is very hard to change something that has worked over the years and forward planning even just finding the time and space to get much forward planning done!

How has Covid-19 affected your business both negatively/positively? A big negative was having to be closed, it depleted the turnover greatly, and it affected 3 seasons, Spring/Summer 2020, and Autumn 2020 has been affected as well. Being unable to go to buying shows and to buy new stock etc was also negative. A positive was that we had a bit more time together to forward plan, and when we did re open with smaller teams, it created a great team spirit, everyone really pulled together.

What makes your business unique? Locality, history and family heritage, long serving loyal staff, and we always strive to go the extra mile for the customer.

Who has been the greatest influence on your life? (Aside from friends & family). I couldn’t really give an answer to that, although we were not allowed to mention friends and family, my father Roy Kells was always my biggest influence, and the person I looked up to and admired the most.


What are your plans for the future? Our number one goal is to get the business 100% back on track, back to how it was going pre lockdown.

What would your advice be for anyone starting out in your industry? Don’t do it! Haha! My advice would be to only go into it unless you have a real love and passion for the industry, and if you do that, I have no doubt you will reap the rewards of it. If you don’t have the passion for the industry, I would recommend not starting out at all!

How do you like to relax? Watching football, visiting Old Trafford, playing in the band, I play for Maguiresbridge Silver Band. I always enjoy going to my local church, Rossory Church. And lastly spending time with friends and family, when I get the chance to do that!

What would you do if you won the lottery? Buy Cristiano Ronaldo back for Man United!

We might be limited in our travel at the moment but where is your favourite holiday destination? Wherever the wife tells me we are going!

What do you miss most about Fermanagh when you are away? The people, and the sunsets (I am not being funny about this one, although we get lots of rain in Fermanagh, the sunsets I saw over lockdown really were amazing)

If you could swap lives with someone who would you choose and why? I am totally happy with my own life, and wouldn’t change it or swap it for anything at all.

And finally take the chance to give a shout out to another local business who you think is doing great things: I have huge respect and time for ALL local, family run businesses in Fermanagh, they are the heart of the local community in my eyes.

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