Millionaire returns for Showcase - Mr George Moore to open US distribution centre

THE Dundalk millionaire who owns The Belleek Group is set to open a standalone sales and distribution operation in the United States.

THE Dundalk millionaire who owns The Belleek Group is set to open a standalone sales and distribution operation in the United States.

Businessman George Moore is planning to open the new operation in eight weeks, just a few weeks shy of his 60th birthday.

Mr Moore spoke of his plans to target sales growth of at least 15 per cent over the next three years after he returned home from the US to attend the Showcase 2011 in the RDS.

Belleek is one of the main exhibitors at the annual creative expo held in Dublin. The Belleek Group comprises Belleek Pottery, Galway Crystal and Aynsley China.

The combined sales of Belleek, Galway Crystal and Aynsley in the US, currently, are over e3.7million ($5m) a year.

The standalone sales and distribution operation is aimed at strengthening the company's retail and sales base in the US.

The move represents an investment of over e550,000 ($750,000) in staff and a new facility in Virginia, which will begin trading on April 1.

From a family of seven in Dundalk, with a father who worked in Clark's shoe factory, Moore won a scholarship in Washington after doing an economics and commerce degree in UCD.

He landed a job with CACI (California Analysis Centres Inc) after completing an MBA and PhD in George Washington University.

Mr Moore credits CACI for nurturing and honing his entrepreneurial spirit while he worked there from 1976 to 1983.

Mr Moore sold his first business, National Decision Systems (NDS), in 1990 for e73 million ($100m). It was a San Diego software company that built information systems for PCs, which he co-founded with two partners.

Mr Moore developed an interest in Belleek through his wife, Angela, who did her MBA in Washington at the same time as him.

The Newry native worked as a consultant for Belleek when the company came on the market in 1989. Mr Moore saw the opportunity for potential growth and snapped it up.

Mr Moore then began turning the Irish brand into a global brand. After 9/11 the company built a new brand called Belleek Living.

The range has become a big seller because it is modern, contemporary and used for everyday living. The company now has almost 20 stores or concessions Ireland and Britain. The higher-end decorative porcelain products are made in Fermanagh.