Irish International Trading Corporation (IITC) - which was founded by a collective of Cork business families at the Grand Parade in 1920 - is celebrating 100 years in business this year.
And, in recent days, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD officially launched the company’s milestone anniversary celebrations.
The company has played a key role in the development of Cork - from supplying materials to aiding the rebuilding of the city after its burning in 1920 - to supporting local enterprise today and has grown to become a national business with a global reach, employing over 120 people with annual sales of €60m.
Managing Director David Heffernan says much of the company’s success is down to its loyal staff, excellent customer service and its ability to diversify as times change.
“We are very proud of what IITC has achieved over the last 100 years and the contribution it makes to the local and national economy,” he added.
“It’s down to our ability to diversify that has seen us where we are today; we have never been reliant on one market.
“We are also very conscious of our business and we mind and take care of it.” Meanwhile, over the last 100 years, the company has become a diverse wholesaler and retailer of hardware, steel, wire, salt, plumbing materials and bathroom supplies.
“Our success is down to the company’s ability to adapt and change; identifying customer needs and keeping an eye on the future potential requirements for them has also been crucial,” Mr Heffernan continued.
“We strive in our markets to be the best that we can be; we want every customer to be a customer for life and we are very fortunate in that we have second and third generation customers coming to us.
“Our staff are the biggest asset we have - they are people who have shown tremendous loyalty and commitment to the business.” During official proceedings on launch day, An Taoiseach pointed to how “indigenous businesses are the lifeblood of communities across the country”.
“IITC has developed and evolved over the past 100 years and is a major contributor to the local and national economy,” said Mr Martin.
“IITC was built on strong foundations and this year’s celebrations mark another milestone in its journey.”