Service Matters, especially during a pandemic!

Service Matters was established in 1997 by Vincent Collins, who, along with his wife Margie, has grown the business to become Ireland’s leading independent mat and hygiene rental, washroom and workwear specialists.

Recently, DAN DOONER got the lowdown on the Roscommon town company from Dysart native, Ann-Marie Kelly, who has been Service Matters’ Financial Controller since November 2018. Ann-Marie lives in Ballinamore Bridge with her husband, Niall Lohan, and their two children, Phoebe (5) and Hughie (4).

“I took up this position with Service Matters two years ago following ten years working in Dublin, of which the last three I was commuting and remote working from Ballinamore Bridge. Our head office and production facility is located here in Roscommon. We also have three other locations; Dublin, Limerick and Tyrone, and we offer services to customers across the island of Ireland,” she said.

Service Matters employs over 90 people, with the majority of staff based at the head office in Roscommon town. Employees fulfil a wide variety of key roles such as production operatives, drivers, customer service representatives as well as other professional and administration roles.

“Service Matters is a great place to work. It is very much a local company and has a good family feel to it here in Roscommon. I worked in a variety of finance roles with a large multinational during my time in Dublin and I have to say that working with Service Matters has given me more experience in the different elements of the business as opposed to just the ‘number crunching’,” Ann-Marie said, before highlighting the other advantages working in Roscommon town has over city life.

“Working in a rural SME certainly hasn’t been a negative experience in terms of my own career. There hasn’t been a compromise (in returning to work in Roscommon) and I am still able to grow and develop. There is less of a commute too (compared with Dublin) and Roscommon is a bustling town with a nice atmosphere and lovely people. There is a busy main street with plenty of cafés and shops and everything else you could want,” she added.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has however posed a number of challenges for the company, as Ann-Marie explains. “There’s no doubt that the early part of the year was challenging. We had a great start to the year and then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and many of our customers, such as schools, hospitality and other businesses, were forced to close.

“We have continued to operate throughout the pandemic and that has meant changes to the way we do things, including workloads and working from home – all in order to ensure the safety of our employees and customers.

“We recognise that this can have an impact on employees and cause stress and anxiety. The company has supported employees in 2020 by providing new benefits such as access to an Employment Assistance Programme and a free flu vaccine”.

As well as supports for its employees, Service Matters is also committed to local employment and supporting local suppliers. Ann-Marie says the company has therefore performed a slight pivot in terms of the services it provides.

“We have had to manage this pandemic and we have used our capacity to launder garments for healthcare workers and we have adapted our product line to offer new products such as reusable facemasks and Covid-19 mats for businesses with social distancing messages on them. We have also increased our stocks of hygiene products and have enhanced the range available in our online shop,” she said.

Service Matters is in a unique position to assist local businesses, schools and clubs in reopening safely. The company has also supported Ireland’s frontline workers by donating supplies of sanitisers and cleaning products to local nursing homes and to organisations which assist vulnerable people throughout the Roscommon area.

As Ann-Marie says, it may have become a nationally renowned business in the 23 years since its inception, but Service Matters remains a company with its roots planted firmly in local soil.