A rug business which started as an eBay online seller is to open its first bricks and mortar outlet in Newry later this month and plans to double its payroll to 30 people in the process.
Brother and sister Paul and Clare Vallely are behind the rug House.
They have moved the business from their kitchen table into a 60,000 sq ft warehouse operation at Shepherd's Way in Carnbane industrial estate which has more than 125,000 rugs in stock and is capable of stocking the same again.
That alone represented an investment of around £280,000.
But now they are about to spend a further £80,000 fitting out what will be the biggest rug store in Ireland, capable of putting nearly 2,000 rugs on display, while they are shelling out another £90,000 revamping the website.
"We've reached the stage where the company needs a presence on the ground to allow our thousands of customers to feel and touch the product before they buy," rug House manager Stephen McElrone says.
"Paul and Clare have been working on this project since 2006, when they were putting in up to 100-hour weeks selling rugs online.
"They've travelled the world, from Belgium to Turkey to China, to source rugs of the finest quality and design, and since launching the company website in 2008 things have just spiralled."
"Last June, such was the volume of sales, that they needed to move from their own sheds at home to a huge warehouse, and they relocated to Carnbane.
"The business is built on having rugs that are a little different and at prices cheaper than everyone else. And all of this is underpinned by outstanding customer service."
When the new website is launched in August the company says it expects to increase its international sales four-fold.
The rug House is also implementing a new stock system in September at an initial cost of £75,000 which will provide a 40 per cent improvement in warehouse workflow efficiencies and improve stock efficiency by more than 60 per cent. Invest NI is chipping in with part of the cost.
"This will allow us to more than double our product range - from synthetic rugs to high-end Persian rugs - while still carrying the same value in stock," Mr EcElrone said.
The company is shipping 3,000-plus rugs a week to customers in more than 30 countries, and believes the opening of its shop in the former Savage & Whitten premises will be the catalyst for further growth.