Managing Director, Environmental Street Furniture (ESF)
Environmental Street Furniture (ESF) was set up in Newtownabbey in 2012 by Alan and Caroline Lowry and initially focused on growing market share in the street furniture industry in the UK and Ireland. Having established a core of local and national business - to pay the bills, the company embarked on an aggressive export policy. Initially directed at generic street furniture but very soon expanding and targeting experience attractions such as theme parks, zoos, water parks, museums etc.
Where there’s a will – there’s a market
Previously, Alan had spent 12 years opening and managing offices in Australia, Middle East and Europe as well as joint ventures in the USA. These were ideal targets as they were also the market drivers in the themed attraction industry. Initial advances to designers and developers in the USA were met with a resistance and a strong ‘buy America’ attitude (assumed but not always stated), however the parks’ developers in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE, were keen to engage and see what could be created by taking generic products and adding theming to create a truly immersive environment.
In 2016 ESF was approached by the developers of IMG Worlds of Adventure. This was to be the largest, indoor theme park in the world, located in Dubai. The developer was based in India, designer in Florida, master planner in California and the project in UAE. ESF navigated a very complex supply chain to design and then provide material which eventually secured an order for all the litter bins and benches in the park, utilizing IP such as Marvel, Cartoon Network etc. The project was a great success and subsequently orders for two more parks in the UAE have been secured.
The aggressive export plans means ESF is now supplying globally to over 22 countries with recent projects secured in Australia, Kazakhstan, Malta, Czech Republic and Hong Kong to name but a few.
New innovations in street furniture
The USA market is also high on ESF’s export agenda. The launch of our new Stellar Solar smart bench has started to make inroads to the American market. The bench uses solar technology to charge mobile phones, provide WIFI and LED lighting in remote locations and can be customized and themed for clients' needs. The global marketing strategy is to identify and appoint partners in selected countries and then support them to secure business and build the brand.
Integrated ‘smart’ furniture is the future… and ESF is innovating and developing a selection of products to offer solar powered solutions which will include lighting, mobile charging, advertising, collection of climate information, people counting, WIFI and many other new technologies.
ESF has won numerous awards both locally and nationally for their innovation and export success and hope to continue to build on this in the future.