THREE enterprising young men from Seamount College in Kinvara will take part in the national final of the Student Enterprise Awards on Friday showcasing a project that gives new life to discarded wooden pallets.
Michael Leahy along with his two friends Ciarán Bailey and Ross Valentine have named their business ‘Pallet Bros’.
The boys, who are all 16, take unwanted pallets and turn them into hand-made items from signs and planters, to storage boxes, decorative pieces and even Christmas trees. They were inspired in their idea by The Student Enterprise Programme.
“We take unwanted pallets and turn them into unique handcrafted designs,” they explained. “Our business recently won the senior category of the Galway Student Enterprise County Final and will be representing Galway in the national final.”
The business was set up towards the end of last year and one of the first projects involved the creation of some novel and highly sought-after Christmas trees.
“These Christmas trees were a huge success and lit up the local communities of South Galway and further afield,” the boys said.
“On the back of this success we have recently launched a spring collection of products including bird tables, planter boxes, and storage boxes for the new season.”
The trio believe that their upcycling initiative is a great way to tackle the issue of waste pallets and to protect the environment.
“A large part of our success is due to the sustainability of our products,” they said.
“Our resources come from local farmers and factories who mainly burn their pallets. Recycling these pallets has helped the environment which for us is a huge positive as it helps combat climate change, a global problem.
“We even re-use the nails from the pallets when building our products. To date we have received a lot of orders for these from as far away as Roscommon and even the UK.”
Setting up a business during a pandemic has not been without its challenges, but Pallet Bros has proven that hard work and persistence can pay off.
“We have abided by the 5km rules of Covid-19 restrictions, our materials are local and our customer base is local,” they said.
“We make each tree by hand using basic tools such as hammers, nail bars, a chop saw, a staple gun, hand saws and a T-square. It is really labour intensive but very rewarding when it comes to seeing our products on display around our community and it has been a profitable enterprise for us.”
The boys also thanked their friends, neighbours and local community for their support.
“Our success has been helped greatly by the support of the South Galway community,” they said.
“We made a special Christmas tree for our local community centre in Ballinderreen and it stood in the village for everyone to see.
“We have donated money to cancer research in Ireland, we gave a tree to our local hurling club and one to Blake Manor Nursing Home which really brightened the place up for residents.”
Pallet Bros can be found on Facebook @palletbrosinc and on Instagram @palletbrosincgalway.
by Fiona McGarry