Belfast Telegraph

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Major investment and rebranding the right fit as Equipashop capitalises on growth in sales

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland retail fit-out company Equipashop has announced a complete rebrand including product expansion and new hi-tech website.

The east Belfast business sells shop fittings, visual merchandising material and mannequins, both locally and internationally.

Equipashop is sister company to 30-year-old business ALD Fit Out, which specialises in the interior fit-out of retail, hospitality and office outlets.

ALD recently experienced a 20% increase in sales in the first half of 2015 - compared to the same period last year - and joined Equipashop in a total rebrand - together worth an investment of £30,000 and the employment of two new staff members.

The company has customers including House of Fraser, Ted Baker, Debenhams, Edinburgh Woollen Mills, Blacks, Arcadia, DV8 and Exhibit.

With 21 employees in Northern Ireland, the company has done business as far away as France, Spain, Malta, the Netherlands and the USA.

Company director Julian Lewis said that the firm had also introduced a new catalogue for customers.

"Despite our online presence, customers expressed a desire to have a catalogue on the shop counter where they could view the entire product range," he said.

"They then phone directly or order online. So we developed a new comprehensive catalogue."

Its sister company ALD - short for Alan Lewis Design - goes back to 1985 when it was set up by Alan Lewis, who had already worked for firms like Beck & Scott and Lever Bros.

He started his shop-fitting venture out of the family home and into a storage unit on the Belmont Road.

His wife Marjorie remains to this day as the company's financial controller, setting a pattern of long-term service and family ties. Alan's brother John joined the outfit in 1991, followed by Alan and Marjorie's daughter Stephanie and, in due course, by their son Julian.

Now ALD Fit Out works from a 25,000 sq ft complex on Prince Regent Road housing offices, storage, showroom and workshops.

It is a major interior fit-out company and now has Equipashop under its umbrella too.

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