Mr. Joseph Quinn was born in Co. Leitrim on 22 March 1925. The son of shopkeeper, Joe was youngest in the family of 12. He served his time in the builders providers business and in 1947 he decided to branch out on his own. Thus began the Quinn legacy through a small hardware and grocery shop in Mohill, Co. Leitrim.
The shop, though relatively small, supplied shelf hardware as well as groceries and in keeping with the traditional aspects of the time it also had a bar. Gradually the business was expanded through purchases of the surrounding/ adjoining properties culminating in a site in the region of 8 to 10 acres.
Quinn Bros, as it was known, became one of the largest builders providers in the West of Ireland and carried extensive stocks; building materials, timber, steel, cements, plasters, sanitary ware, furniture, carpets, delph as well as groceries and animal feeds. One could walk in and buy everything to build and furnish a house – the only exceptions were building blocks and sand. At its peak Quinn Bros employed approximately 120 people and delivery services reached many counties including regular deliveries into Dublin.
The Sleepers were used for farm buildings and cattle sheds; the bolt which was a triangular headed bolt of high Tensile steel was used to form a drawbar bolt for tractors and trailers (remember this is pre the ball hitch era) As many of the railway materials were purchased overseas, a Dublin depot was required for storage and distribution. A small yard in Ballymount, which in the early 1960’s was very much ‘out in the country’ with narrow lanes such as Ballymount Road, was purchased.
In 1967, Mr. Quinn, through a friend, discovered that a company called ‘Carthorn’ were closing down their business in Dublin which employed a number of people in the manufacturing of galvanized water storage tanks, pressed steel gutters & fittings and many other products. Mr. Quinn immediately seized this opportunity and purchased the goodwill of the company, its raw materials, work- in-progress, finished stock and all the equipment along with the workforce to make the product range – Galco Steel Ltd was born in 1967. Production commenced in late 1967/ early 1968 with manufacturing and a homemade galvanizing bath. In Ireland at this time, it took anywhere between three and six weeks to get material galvanized, the quality generally left a lot to be desired and there were only a few small plants operating.
Within only a short time in the Galvanizing Industry, Mr. Quinn believed there was a much greater business opportunity which was untapped. He carried out research in the UK and Germany, and based on this decided that commercial/ jobbing galvanizing had a big future in Ireland. In 1970, Galco opened its first commercial galvanizing plant here in Ballymount on a much smaller site than we have today.
As his knowledge and expertise within the galvanizing industry expanded, so did the Quinn range of business enterprises. Mr. Quinn founded a new company, ‘Metal Recovery Ltd’ which was situated in Mohill, Co Leitrim, which carried out Metal Recycling, i.e. the processing of waste materials into re-melt Zinc. Metal Recovery Ltd processed materials from Galco, numerous other manufacturers in Ireland and indeed other galvanizers.
Mr. Quinn’s next business venture was to separate the Grocery from the Hardware/Builders Providers. He re-branded the grocery business to Quinnmo (Mohill) Ltd, opening a new modern super- market adjoining the Metal Recovery Ltd premises.
He built Galco from its humble beginnings to the company it is today. His vision, leadership and aspirations continue to shape Galco into the future.
Galco History Journey
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