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Viking Marine Weathering Storm of Economic Downturn

8th July 2012
Viking Marine Weathering Storm of Economic Downturn

#ONLINE RETAIL - If Viking Marine boss Ian O'Meara has any regrets, it's that he didn't get into online trade much sooner.

In an recent interview with The Sunday Times' Sandra O'Connell, the 52-year-old managing director explains how the internet has provided him with a low-cost opportunity to diversify his business in these recessionary times.

Aside from retail outlets at The Pavillion in Dun Laoghaire and Kilcoole in Co Wicklow, both serving the vibrant east coast sailing community, the company now has Quickropes.com which provides hundreds of different ropes for any need - not exclusively boating.

"We thought there might be a market there for a specialist site, and it turns out there is," says O'Meara. "It's early days, but it's tipping along nicely."

It makes a refereshing change from the usual trend from losing custom in its brick-and-mortar outlets to the web, with the perception being that prices for everything are cheaper online.

"All too often we get people who come in to try on clothing items for size, only because they want to go and order them online," he says.

Another challenge brought by the internet is the expectation of the variety of stock Viking Marine is expected to carry. "We sell everything from a needle to an anchor," says O'Meara. "When people come in for something, they expect to find it."

But it appears the business is weathering both the choppy waves of the changing marketplace and the storm of the global financial crisis, thanks to some difficult but necessary sail trimming.

"In any case, I'm a sailor," he says, "it's what I do, it's what I love, and the business is still very much a part of that passion."

The Sunday Times has more on the story HERE (subscription required).

Published in Marine Trade
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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