The judges were divided when it came to choosing between shops selling mostly gifts and crafts and those with a wider interiors offering.
It was just too hard to decide and so we have two winners in this category. The joint winners couldn’t be more different but each offers a sense of discovery that caught the judges imagination.
Industry first opened as a small shop in Temple Bar in 2010 run by Vanessa Mac Innes, who partnered with her brother Marcus to expand the business. He had cut his teeth with Pix.ie, a photosharing site that, he says, slightly tongue-in-cheek, would have conquered the world had it not been for Facebook.
His time there taught him how to fundraise and the brother and sister team raised €250,000, including backing from rugby player Rob Kearney, to bankroll a move to Drury Street.
Eighteen months on they have expanded the space and introduced a small café. The shop has a mix of quirky furnishings and accessories – beaten tin trays, coloured light flex, handsome porcelain – and unusual and affordable gifts.
“It is family friendly and also good for a casual business meeting”, said reader Jodi Scorr. Even though the space is super cool, the staff are friendly and obliging. “I love the way this shop has evolved,” said judge Eddie Shanahan. “The fact that you can sit and have lunch on the furniture that is for sale brings the shop alive.”
Industry, 41a/b Drury Street, Dublin 2 01-613 9111 industrydesign.ie
The Store Yard
The Store Yard is about 90kms from Drury Street and couldn’t be more different in terms of its aesthetics . Housed in an industrial park in a large metal shed, The Store Yard has 25,000sq ft of the best architectural salvage, vintage, period, retro furniture and curios in the country. “As Flann O’Brien might have said, every piece in the shop is a sermon in itself,” is one reader’s comment.
It’s owned and run by David Kane, a former builder who, with his father, Tommy Kane, would have worked on many big construction jobs in the midlands including The Heritage in Killenard.
In 2009, with construction work having dried up and bills to pay, he opened the shop, then just some 3,500sq ft in the back of a unit owned by his father.
This is not the place to bring a shopping list or to go looking for a neat little gift, nicely wrapped.
Instead, when the judges visited, you could buy a full-size taxidermied swan or cushions made from priests’ vestments. Also: scrubbed pine kitchen tables, biscuit boxes from a bygone era, shop counters and Belfast sinks all piled high.
“The difference here is that the stock is clean, polished and well presented, with room sets created to inspire,” says judge Alanna Gallagher. The Store Yard is merchandised by manager Robert Collins, an interior designer, with some theatrical flair. He’s also in charge of the regular dusting and polishing that helps eliminate the cobwebs and fusty smells that many readers will associate with salvage materials.
At the centre of things is a café, Tynans, where you can get good homemade soups, cakes and a really good breakfast for early birds.
The Store Yard, Portlaoise, Co Laois 057-8680088 thestoreyard.ie