Belfast Telegraph

Blinds firm gets Invest NI help to open 79 new posts

By Margaret Canning

A family-run blinds company in Lisburn is creating 79 new positions in an investment of more than £2m.

Invest NI has contributed around £237,000 from its Jobs Fund - which is used to help companies expedite plans to create jobs paying below the Northern Ireland average - to the investment by Decora Blinds in Knockmore Hill Industrial Park.

The business was founded back in 1979 by Michael and Lynda Dickson and now employs 377 people.

Their son Stuart, now managing director, said the firm sells to trade customers who then sell its speciality blinds to the end consumer.

Mr Dickson said the company was focused on the UK market.

"Europe is something we may look at in three or four years but we have enough in the UK to keep us busy," he added. "The internet brings a lot of opportunities, but our main focus is the UK - but never say never."

On a day when it emerged that the UK's economy was technically back in recession, Mr Dickson said the downturn had made his company work even harder.

"It's made us pedal faster but we have no other choice. But when recovery comes we will be in a good position to ride on the back of that," he added.

The 79 new jobs will mainly be for production and customer service roles - but there will also be a small number in human resources.

Mr Dickson said additional jobs may also be created later in the year as the company introduces new lines.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the firm's innovation had enabled it to become a successful brand in the UK.

"The development of new product lines and increased levels of marketing will support the company's aims of further growth," she said.

Stuart Dickson added: "Over the years we have received a range of support from Invest NI. This latest help ensures we can move quickly to put jobs in place and continue to build our market share."

The Jobs Fund has a £19m budget to support the creation of 4,000 jobs by 2014.