Community stores remain a vital source for residents

By Maurice Garvey

WHILE some newsagents are suffering from a lack of foot traffic – notably city centre and business campus outlets – local community stores remain a vital source for residents in strange times.

The long and weary queues at supermarkets are less likely at the local newsagent, but enforcement of social distancing is still important for customers and staff alike.

Joe Mannion compressor

Joe Mannion, is President of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association

“Most people are respectful of social distancing but a small proportion cause trouble,” said Joe Mannion, owner of Mannion’s, a family operated newsagent in Clondalkin that employs 15.

“The biggest issue for staff is if someone gets it, so we are trying to operate at social distancing. It is very tough to operate lines but we have a fairly big store.

 

If people look after their own social distancing it will be fine, and in most cases they are.”

Mannion is President of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA), a body which represents over 1,500 convenience stores, newsagents and forecourt operators nationwide.

“Across the state some members range 30 per cent to 60 per cent below water,” he said.

“Shops in around the Four Courts and the city centre have seen a big loss of footfall and a lot of shops are in serious trouble. It won’t be back to normal until people are back at work.”

Essential stores that remain open in Clondalkin told The Echo this week, that business has been steady but tough.

Tasty Treats in the Mill Shopping Centre re-opened last week, takeaway only, and are doing well selling coffee, bread and cakes.

Mannion feels “tension is high” but points to Brexit as an unlikely saviour.

“What saved us was Brexit. There was a lot of stuff saved in warehouses.”

Avoiding supermarket queues have been good for local newsagents but Mannion concedes the loss of office workers has seen the deli aspect of the business go down.

“People are buying a lot of multi-packs, crisps and we have a bit of an off-licence. They want to mimic normal habits so it is busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays before settling down on Sunday.

“The only time it got out of hand was when panic set in. Good supplies are out there. One thing you find is some sizes are difficult to get.

The next manufacturing thing will be factories doing just two or three standards sizes.”

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