Ivor Allen always had an entrepreneurial streak. Every day that Ivor left his farm in Ballaghmore, BorrisinOssory, Co Laois, to work in the boning hall in Glanbia, Roscrea, was a day to make money to set up his own business. Many ideas were identified but he found it difficult to get one that he felt passionate enough about to drive forward. Then one evening he was sitting beside the Aga cooker at home. ”My mother said she would love to get the cooker reenamelled but couldn’t find anyone to do it,” he remembers. Bang -the idea he had been waiting for hit him. He had worked at enamelling old cookers with the Leinster Foundry in Athy before it closed so knew the basics. From that day on he threw himself into researching the idea to achieve his goal. He came across plenty of red tape and found it difficult to get information as there were few people with knowledge of the business.
Reenamelling old cookers is done by sandblasting off the old enamel and then spraying on new enamel. This is dried to 13OoC and then baked in a furnace at 76OoC. It requires specialist equipment and skills. The equipment is not cheap. Ivor has estimated that the total cost of setting up the equipment was close to €1OO,OOO. Laois Partnership (then Laois LEADER) contributed a significant investment towards these start-up costs.
Ivor Allen “Looking Hot”