Sole traders open European headquarters in Westpark

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

THE global economic downturn has worked in the favour of one Shannon-based firm who have relocated their European headquarters to the Westpark business park.

THE global economic downturn has worked in the favour of one Shannon-based firm who have relocated their European headquarters to the Westpark business park.

Shoes For Crews are a world leader in slip-resistant footwear and have had a presence in the Mid-West since 2002. But the local operation - including sales, marketing and customer service functions - has now had to move into its new base after growing a few sizes too big. From 14 employees at the start of the year, Shoes For Crews hope to have 20 on the payroll by next week.

The Shannon firm’s marketing manager Gosia Sobierajska said the company’s range of products were used in any industry where there was a slippery workfloor. Chefs, butchers and fishmongers are customers; as are healthcare facilities and manufacturers. Shoes For Crews also holds contracts with the likes of Shell and Texaco.

“Obviously anywhere where you have grease or wet floors would have a need for this type of footwear,” explained Ms Sobierajska.

We have contracts with McDonalds, Burger Kings and KFCs all around the world and you will have seen how sales in McDonalds globally have gone through the roof as people switch from restaurants to something less expensive. That has worked out very well for us in terms of increased sales.”

Shoes For Crews - which manufactures its products at 13 plants in China - was working with local recruitment agencies La Creme and Peach to add to its complement of multilingual staff.

The company’s founding CEO and current chairman Stan Smith was in Shannon this week as Shoes For Crews formally opened its new European base and European MD Nigel Rothwell explained why the company had decided on Westpark.

“Our global group HQ enjoys a splendid location in West Palm Beach, Florida. We wanted our European HQ to have an equally impressive setting, from which we can adequately serve the needs of our international customers, partners and suppliers. The 38-acre parkland campus at Westpark, with its world-class offices, business restaurant and excellent support services, is exactly what we had in mind” Mr Rothwell said thjis Tuesday.

Shoes For Crews joins companies such as GE subsidiary GECAS, AerCap, SES, Symantec, Schwarz Pharma and Enterprise Ireland as tenants at Westpark Shannon.