The end of an era with the closure of Clondalkin village newsagent after 28 years

By Maurice Garvey

THE end of an era in Clondalkin village this week with Chapmans newsagents closing its doors after 28 years of service to the community.

Jim and Mary Chapman opened the shop in 1989, and worked hard to provide a sterling service, seven days a week, even opening on Christmas Day.

Chapmans closing Clondalkin 03032017

There was an outpouring of goodwill in the community this week as people congratulated the pair for their well-earned retirement, but many also lamented the loss of another family-run business in the village.

“We never realised how important the shop was until now,” said Jim to The Echo.

“We have been getting a huge amount of accolades online, in the shop, and through letters. It’s been a weird few days. This has been our whole life. It’s a tough day for us emotionally. In saying that, it’s been very good to us. We’ve raised our family with the shop.”

Originally from Longford, Jim and Mary moved to Clondalkin over 40 years ago, settling in the area and raising three sons Brian, David and Terry.

Jim was assistant manager in the Laurels for 10 years, and also worked in the Louis Fitzgerald bar, before opening the shop with Mary on August 1, 1989.

The Castle Crescent store played an important role in the community, acting as a focal point for customers, and was famous for its cooked meats and homemade salad.

Jim continued: “It was more than just a shop, it was a community place where people would come in for a chat. We were never a big store like Aldi or Lidl, but we got great support from local people. They were not customers but friends.

“When we first came to Clondalkin you could buy anything in the vicinity of the village, but today you have only one butchers, no shoe shop, no veg shop. The smaller outlets are dwindling away.”

The couple were “blessed with good staff” over the years, mostly long-term employees, including Helen, Anna, and Mary Leahy and Phylis Daly.

In 2015, Jim was hailed for his bravery in fending off a knife-wielding drug addict at the store.

Threatened with a kitchen knife, Mr Chapman picked up a piece of wood and swung it at the robber.

During the struggle, the tip of Jim’s finger was cut off, but he and a customer held the assailant down until gardai arrived.

See more photos in this week's edition of the Echo, on sale now.

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