Hardware stores and builders merchants, opticians and motor dealerships/garages reopen

By Maurice Garvey

BUSINESSES that reopened this week did so under a new world of regulations, an endless barrage of yellow signage and customary social distancing.

Phase 1 of the government’s roadmap for reopening last Monday, saw the return of hardware stores, builders merchants, opticians, motor dealerships/garages, bicycle sales/supplies, along with various phone, IT, electrical and maintenance services.

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Brendan O’Reilly (TJ O’Mahony) and customer Graham Tweedy

It was not only welcomed by the businesses themselves, but customers were keen to get back out and huge queues waited patiently outside DIY premises on Monday morning.

“Business was great, exceptionally busy but all positive and we had the regulations in place to keep staff and customers safe,” said Greg Moran, Store Manager at TJ O’Mahony.

“We were working behind the scenes for the last couple of weeks and are well prepared. It wasn’t new to us. Monday was very busy with queues outside and we are learning how many to bring in to the store, but customers have been brilliant.”

Last month, The Echo covered a “DIY Boom” for deliveries with places like Ballymount business TJ O’Mahony, but Mr Moran says this surge has not let up.

“It’s all about paint and trying to replenish stock, also timber decking is very popular and composite decking,” said Moran.

“The online business is still thriving which we will maintain going forward. It is handy for people who are vulnerable. There is a waiting time of one week but we hope that will decrease over the next week or two now that the store is open again.”

The motoring industry, which employs up to 50k people in Ireland, were eagerly anticipating reopening.

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Darren Nolan getting ready to service a car in Tadg Riordan

“It’s been positive but very different for us, people waiting, especially on the servicing side of things – we’ve been fully booked up,” said Tomás Keogh, GM Tadg Riordan Motors, on the Tallaght bypass.

“We’ve had a few car sales already, and enquiries on the phone, there is a bit more funding around. Stock is readily available for good value on new and old, our big push now is on the 202 models.”

A trip to Tadgh Riordan’s for a service is slightly different now due to covid regulations.

Mr Keogh continued: “We have perspex screens, give PPE equipment to customers and have drop off stations for customers. They place their key in a bag and give it to us. We sanitize the car before returning it to the customer.

“Before we get it, we have a cover for the steering wheel and seat. All our technicians are wearing gloves.”

Up the road at Tallaght Enterprise Centre, Noel Gough Motors are open but only taking on three to four customers per day, until things settle down.

Mobile Bicycle Sales and Service Clondalkin compressor

Cathal fixing Green Cllr Peter Kavanagh’s bike in Clondalkin

“We are open for business but recommend people call us at 087 135 6751 beforehand,” advised owner Noel Gough.

Cyclists have enjoyed relative peace on the roads during the last two months with traffic down to a trickle.

Over the last ten years, Cathal Harling, from Mobile Bicycle Sales and Service Clondalkin, has operated a call out and collect service in his company van.

“For eight weeks I was shut down but I just had to go back for my own mind if anything else,” quipped Cathal, a Castle Park resident.

“The last two weeks I started back and it has been fairly busy. I had 15 bikes to repair in Dalkey yesterday. If I go out and fix a bike, it is all done outside, from a safe distance between me and customers.”

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