Ballymahon is home to a thriving factory producing quality men's fashions that are now being exported across the world.
Manford Clothing Company was established in 1980 in Ballymahon County Longford and has been expanding ever since.
Irish men not particularly renowned as trendy and fashion dressers
At a time when most Irish factories were closing down, one was opening up. In the seven years since its foundation, Manford Clothing has more than tripled its workforce and won millions of pounds worth of export orders.
Tom Kelly, Managing Director, explains how the company reversed the trend at a time when a lot of people in the rag trade were going to the wall.
Longford man Noel Hanlon bravely bought out the former Balman Clothes, a subsidiary of Dubtex Clothing Ltd. At that stage, the company made mainly unstructured garments such as children's duffle coats and men's car coats. The new owners undertook a programme to modernise the manufacturing plant to bring it up to European standards, as well as diversifying into manufacturing a wide range of garments.
With the help of AnCO (An Chomhairle Oiliúna), the company started a training programme bringing the staff numbers from around fifty to eighty or ninety within the first year. The focus was now on the quality of the garments.
It's a long way from a child's duffle coat to a cashmere coat.
After conquering the Irish market, the company expanded overseas around 1983. Around 25% of trade is now in the UK. The company now sells as far afield as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
We're into a high quality product which is a great tribute to the staff.
When the company faced challenges of payment from some retailers in the domestic market, the company decided to begin selling directly to the public which has proven to be extremely successful. Tom Kelly puts this success down to the quality of the merchandise and the value for money.
We're selling a quality Irish product at an economical price. This is the secret of Manford Direct.
Manford is an important employer for Ballymahon and the surrounding areas.
This episode of 'Evening Extra' was broadcast on 28 March 1988. The reporter is Eamonn Ó Muirí.
'Evening Extra' was a nightly magazine programme which ran from Monday to Friday at 7 pm dealing with current issues and people in the news. The first episode was aired on Monday 13 October 1986 and it ran for 278 shows over 2 years until the final show on 29 April 1988. The programme had numerous presenters and reporters including Siobhan Cleary, Richard Crowley, Bibi Baskin, Aonghus McAnally and Shay Healy.