Best Shops: Family-run businesses are among the favourites

It’s week three in the Best Shops in Ireland competition and nominations are flooding in from readers all over the country.

 

It’s week three in the Best Shops in Ireland competition and nominations are flooding in from readers all over the country. For many of the shops we have seen nominated, business is a family affair – in more ways than one.

ERNIES-1_WEB“The Deacy name is interwoven into the roots of old Galway and thanks to a loyal customer base the shop is one of the longest running family businesses in the city,” Lisa Regan writes of Ernies in Galway city. “The shop is a beacon in a world where fast paced, mass produced goods fill the shelves.”

Margaret Naughton feels similarly about O’Donnell’s Boutique in Limerick city, writing, “I think because O’Donnell’s is a family run boutique, it has that little something extra special. They care about their customers. You’re always made feel so welcome and I thoroughly enjoy shopping there.”

In Dublin, the family of Charles Byrne Music Shop has been running the business for four generations, led by the 84-year-old Charlie Byrne himself.

“Charlie has a million stories about the area and history and musicians,” says Sara Curren in her nomination for Best Speciality Shop.

HOPKINSTOYS_WEBThere’s a similar story in Wicklow town, where the Hopkins family have kept the Hopkins Toy Shop doors open for seven generations. For Cliana Smyth, that familiar environment extends to her own family.

“I travel from Dublin to visit it with my son. The prices are decent, the variety of toys is unsurpassable and its stock is regularly updated,” she writes. “My husband was taken here when he was a little boy and his parents were too when they were children and now my son looks forward with huge excitement when we say we’re going there.”

For other shoppers, these local business people become part of the family, both in good times and bad.

“My mother died unexpectedly last year aged 92 and one phone call meant that all our catering needs were looked after. They made the most wonderful selection of bite sized sandwiches, cakes including numerous gluten-free options and supplied us with all the crockery we could ever need, and even a Burco to make endless cups of tea,” Paula Hanlon said of Conaty Catering in Dublin. “For happier occasions, they have catered for numerous birthday parties and barbecues; they make delicious garlic bread and their lemon tart is unforgettable. Seamus, his wife Therese, and Arlene who is the front of house supremo, offer a great personal service.”

In other instances, shopkeepers willing to go the extra mile make a lasting impression, as was Una Duffy’s experience with The Reading Room in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

“At Christmas my husband called in and asked her for two books I would read,” Duffy said. “The first one I read over St Stephen’s Day in a 12-hour period only disturbed by food breaks. The second was brought on holidays as a holiday read. I read it on day one, with no book for the remainder of the week. Both choices were spot on.”

As the contest continues and the competition heightens, your favourite shops need your nominations now more than ever. Make sure to tell us which establishment you think deserves the Best Shops title at irishtimes.com/bestshops.

Tweet us @IrishTimesLife or with the #bestshops15 

Best Shops 2015 is sponsored by Clover, a First Data product from AIB Merchant Services

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.