By Iain Ferguson
A true success story. That’s MKM Kilmarnock which first opened its building supplies and home
improvement branch in the town four and a half years ago, and has rapidly expanded ever since.
Co-directors, Colin Eggo and Matt McQuade, walked into the premises at Unit 2 Moorfield North Industrial Park in November 2018 to be confronted by a huge empty space with just a pile of desks and chairs in the middle of the floor.
MKM opened for trading six weeks later and hasn’t looked back. In that short time frame, it has established itself as Ayrshire’s premier one-stop shop for building supplies and home improvements.
Colin recalls: “We had 17 staff which is exactly half of the number we employ now, so the growth has been exceptional and we are still recruiting.”
Proudly, Colin outlines the amazing success story which finds MKM Kilmarnock with 34 staff and another about to start, seven vehicles on the road, and with the refurbished showroom extended to cope with the increased footfall.
Colin’s wife, Laura, who is office administrator added: “We have just taken on a new kitchen designer so we now have three in the kitchen design team. We also have plans to extend out the front to increase the showrooms for both bathrooms and kitchens.”
MKM has more than 100 depots throughout the country with the first having opened in Hull in 1998. It was a great honour for Kilmarnock to win the Branch of the Year Award in 2021, something that Colin, Matt and the team are rightly proud of.
Colin said: “It was quite something to win. MKM tends to be best of the best and to have won Branch of the Year after being here only just more than two years was brilliant and obviously reflects on the staff we employ and the service we give. But we have to keep ourselves up there by striving to be the best at all times.”
The proud director looks on his team as being one big happy family and added: “We are more than just builders’ merchants. We specialise in plumbing and heating and the kitchen and bathroom side of the business is expanding.
“We cater for the trade and the public alike and I would like to think we are the dominant merchant in Ayrshire now. That’s down to a lot of hard work and quality of staff. We have grown fairly rapidly and have had to put transport managers in place, but we are one big family and all get on very, very well.”
The accelerated expansion has taken place despite the Covid pandemic hitting, but as Colin explained it did have an upside for business too. He said: “We actually got a bounce off Covid. Everyone was doing work on their homes or building man-caves.
“We initially were shut for three weeks which was hard and when we came back we returned with a skeleton staff, but we quickly realised that wasn’t going to cut it and soon everyone was back in.”
Colin has been in the builders’ merchant industry almost all of his working life and between Matt and himself they have more than 80 years’ experience to call on.
He considers this very important as he pointed out: “We are a young company to Ayrshire and some people still don’t know where we are, but we set ourselves goals when we started out four years ago and I think where we are at the moment, we have surpassed these goals.
“We try to offer a premium service no matter what part of the company it is. Right through from ordering kitchens to deliveries, we have excellent staff. We always tried to employ experienced staff but we are now starting to look at apprenticeships because the talent pool in the builders’ merchant industry is not what it was.
“That is something we are conscious of so we are now starting our first apprentice and are hopefully going to start another two. It’s important we bring our own talent through.
“We are a company who cares about employees and anyone coming to join us will be able to work for us as long as they want. We are good at what we do and set high standards. We have to be excellent at what we do because when you probably have the biggest builders’ merchants in the county, and arguably better staff than most, you become a big target for others to aim at.
“I’d more or less stopped working but was enticed back by MKM and I don’t think I would have come back for any other company.”
MKM Kilmarnock services an area from Largs in the north to Girvan in the south, and undertakes work all over Ayrshire.
While we chatted, MKM’s Development Director for Scotland, Craig Millar, popped in and added: “This branch is one of the fastest growing in terms of speed of return and Colin, Matt and the staff have done very well to become the biggest single site merchant in Ayrshire.
“For them to win Branch of the Year so quickly was brilliant and speaks volumes for the staff.”
MKM is also heavily involved in the community and sponsor Kilmarnock FC, Ayr United and amateur football clubs.
At Christmas, the branch undertook a special charity project as Laura said: “We set ourselves a challenge to fill two one-ton bags with food and provisions for Crosshouse food bank which we achieved and we are very proud of that.”
Colin and his team would be delighted to welcome you to MKM Kilmarnock and encourage you either to call 01563 481500 or visit the beautiful showroom.
The company offers luxury bathroom brands Calypso, Bristan and Roper Rhodes and has Gary and Linsey on hand to offer their expert advice on product ranges.
The extensive kitchen showroom includes a range of quality names including Silestone and Dekton. Contact Fiona, Tegan or Ryan to take you through the process of picking your dream kitchen.