Belfast Telegraph

Family firm has globe all tied up

By Clare Weir

A Co Antrim textiles firm is ploughing almost £50,000 into developing new products and markets.

Richard Atkinson Ltd in Newtownabbey sells ties and other products to corporate customers and independent retailers across mainland Europe, the USA and Japan as well as to Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

To support the future growth of the business, family firm Atkinsons, which employs around eight people in Mallusk, is branching out into a new range of men's accessories, including cummerbunds, cravats, bow ties, handkerchiefs and scarves.

To help drive sales and attract new customers, the company is undertaking several visits over the coming months to China, USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

Peter Nicholson, managing director of Atkinsons, said that the firm, which was established in the early 1800s, was keen to move with the times.

"In order to maintain a competitive position outside Northern Ireland, we recognised the need to continuously expand our product portfolio and increase awareness of the Atkinsons brand," he said.

"Our accessories range will enable us to target new international markets and extend our potential customer base.

"We plan to participate in a US trade show and advertise these products widely across Europe and Asia."

Invest NI has offered Atkinsons over £19,000 to help the company bring this new product range to market.

Stephen Wightman, Invest NI's acting director of life sciences and creative industries, added: "Atkinsons is a long established family-owned company, which has undergone significant change to adapt to challenging trading conditions.

"Its investment activities relating to brand development and product range expansion demonstrate the company's keen export focus and strong drive to build on its international success."