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'I'm a hoarder of many things, including vinyl'


Rock of ages: Francis Rossi of Status Quo

Rock of ages: Francis Rossi of Status Quo


An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan

An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan

Rock of ages: Francis Rossi of Status Quo

Q&A: Allister Mulligan

Q: What's the best piece of business (or life) advice you've ever been given?

A: Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself.

Q: What piece of advice would you pass on to someone starting out in business?

A: If you want to succeed you need to put everything in to the business, this can affect all aspects of our life but in the long-term it's usually worth it.

Q: What was your best business decision?

A: Firstly, leaving the comfort of a well remunerated role in industry to set up my own business. Secondly, five years ago we acquired the entire contents of a 65,000 sq ft office furniture factory in the South of England which had gone in to receivership. This was a major logistical challenge as we moved 24 full trailer loads of stock from there to Belfast. However, this gave us a massive stock holding which enabled us to take on much larger projects.

Q: If you weren't doing this job, what would be your other career?

A: I would probably be selling paper antiques, one of my main hobbies.

Q: What was your last holiday? Where are you going next?

A: We had a fantastic week in Madeira in early March. Our next holiday will be a few days over Easter in my favourite part of the world, Portstewart.

Q: What are your hobbies/interests?

A: Rock music is my main passion and I have seen my favourite band, Status Quo, over 120 times. Music is a great leveller and I have made close friends all over UK and Europe through our shared interest. I am also a collector/hoarder of many things including Clogher Valley postcards, vinyl records, vintage advertising and Irish books. I enjoy country life and time spent with my wife, children and pets.

Q: What is your favourite sport and team?

A: Soccer is my favourite sport and I am a long-standing Nottingham Forest fan. I also follow Ballinamallard locally and am hoping for a good result on May 4!

Q: And have you ever played any sports?

A: I used to play five-a-side football and squash but I'm too old for that now! These days I go to the gym three times a week.

Q: If you enjoy reading, can you recommend a book?

A: I read a lot of books when I am on holiday, and my most recent read was Francis Rossi's autobiography. I also read all three local daily papers every day. The best and most challenging book I've ever read is An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan (below).

Q: How would you describe your early life?

A: I grew up on a small poultry and beef farm in the Clogher Valley. Working on the farm always came before academia but instilled a work ethic which I think has kept me going through tough times. I attended Fivemiletown High school and Omagh Technical College and still have strong links and friendships in the area.

Q: Have you any economic predictions?

A: I've absolutely no idea other than that the current uncertainty over Brexit and lack of a Stormont government is hindering economic progress and affecting business confidence.

Q: How would you assess your time in business with your company Desk Warehouse?

A: It's been a roller coaster. The recession nearly put us out of business, but we tightened our belts and got through it. Every day brings new opportunities and new challenges.

Q: How do you sum up working in the furnishings sector?

A: It's an industry that's full of big personalities and a few huge egos...

Belfast Telegraph