Fermanagh food tech leader set for faster growth with London partner

Co Fermanagh food retail software specialist EPOS Bureau and a leader in stock control and inventory management technology for UK farm shops and delis, has been acquired by London’s ClearCourse Partnership, a group of high-tech companies providing integrated software solutions.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 6:00 am

Co Fermanagh food retail software specialist EPOS Bureau and a leader in stock control and inventory management technology for UK farm shops and delis, has been acquired by London’s ClearCourse Partnership, a group of high-tech companies providing integrated software solutions.

The acquisition, just announced, is ClearCourse’s second of the year and sees the Northern Ireland company joining its retail division, strengthening management and e-commerce capabilities.

Founded in 1997 by entrepreneur Nigel Bogle (48), the EPOS Bureau, based in Irvinestown, is already one of the UK’s premier providers of sophisticated software solutions for premium delicatessens and farm shops especially in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

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EPOS Bureau offers a wide range of capabilities for retailers, from helping control margins through inventory management to providing a clear and intuitive interface with its point-of-sale platform. The company has over 200 customers across the UK and Ireland, ranging from premium butchers to centuries-old cheesemongers, while it also holds a Royal warrant for its services.

Gerry Gualtieri, ClearCourse chief executive, says: “We are pleased to welcome the EPOS Bureau to the family. The platform will be an invaluable addition to our retail, e-commerce and POS capabilities, and will offer synergies with a range of our brands. The expertise and commitment to the firm and its customers we have seen from Nigel and the team is exemplary, and we are very excited to work closely with the EPOS Bureau to realise those synergies and support the continued growth and development of ClearCourse and its brands.”

Nigel Bogle, EPOS Bureau’s founder and chief executive will continue to head the Northern Ireland operation: “We’re excited for what the future holds following our joining the ClearCourse partnership. The food retail, garden centre and hospitality sectors are growing at a phenomenal rate, and their ability to serve their customers using the very best technology is vital to that growth.

“We’re very proud of our extensive understanding of these sectors as well as the efficiency, profitability and customer satisfaction that our products deliver. Our customers will benefit from a wide range of additional products and services as well as greater investment in our core products and people, and we can’t wait for the very exciting things that are coming next.”

The company will continue to operate from Irvinestown.

The Fermanagh technology company’s ethos, he explains, is “centred around sustainability and social responsibility, supporting the development and growth of small independent businesses across the country”.

Nigel continues: “Specialist retailers which have benefited from our services include Restoration Yard, Stratford’s The Farm, and Flourish Foodhall and Kitchen, all located in Britain. The acquisition means a great deal for our business, team and customers.

“The sectors we serve - farm shops, delis, hospitality and garden centres are developing at a phenomenal rate. The pandemic has increased the speed at which retailers are adopting new technology to enable them to engage with consumers in ways now required and expected in a modern digital age. 

“Over the past 18 months, we have seen dashboards, e-commerce sites and mobile food ordering apps come online in quick succession and that drive for further development just keeps increasing.

“Retail’s long-term survival hinges on the ability of technology providers like the EPOS Bureau to continually innovate, delivering features and functions that increase efficiency, profitability and customer satisfaction.

“We are a small business that has always developed our own software and we are delighted to be able to take things to the next level in our sector through; more investment and development of our technology and systems.”

As a consequence of the acquisition of the EPOS Bureau, customers would benefit from a wide range of additional products and services, payment processing opportunities, increased investment in our core products and people, enabling us to do very exciting things and at a pace that is now required as the sector develops.

“We are all extremely excited about the future and the opportunities for growth for our team and our customers. In the months ahead, we will be launching new products,” Nigel says.

Educated at Strabane Grammar School and a computer science graduate of Nottingham University, Nigel developed leading-edge software for influential retailers in Britain. He had initially been commissioned to develop retail software for the farm shop at Chatsworth House, the historic country home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Bakewell in Derbyshire.

In 1997, he set up Lakeland Computers in Irvinestown to market the unique software. He subsequently rebranded the enterprise as the EPOS Bureau with the aim to develop and market the software throughout the UK and Ireland. It proved immensely successful for the local technology leader.

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