It has been 7 years since Brian Jones took over the EUROSPAR Supermarket in the bustling town of Killorglin, Co Kerry. Brian manages the day-to-day operations of the store while his wife, Michelle, manages the accounting side of the business. We spoke to Brian about what the business has achieved over the last seven years and his vision for the future of the supermarket.
Brian is no stranger to retail, when asked how long he had been in the industry he replied, “All my life.” Starting out sweeping fl oors in a store in Blanchardstown over 30 years ago, Brian has since worked all over the country and has now over 20 years retail management experience under his belt.
“Maurice Smyth, who now operates the Furey-Smyth Retail Group with John Furey, actually gave me my very fi rst job in retail over 30 years ago. Since then, I have worked in stores in Blanchardstown, Howth, Clonmel, Waterford and now Killorglin.” Brian has hit the ground running and in the seven years since taking over the EUROSPAR Supermarket in Killorglin he has achieved a lot. This is with thanks to the team at EUROSPAR Killorglin who are, according to Brian, invaluable to the store’s success.
“We have a team of 34 staff here in Killorglin, a mix of full and part-time employees. They are a brilliant team and I rely on them hugely. I believe a strong team is the key to successful retailing and the team in EUROSPAR Killorglin are the biggest asset to our business.” It is fair to say that it has been a busy couple of years for the store. The 7,000 sq ft store completed a full revamp in 2019 and is now enjoying the benefits.
Fresh new store
In 2019 Brian decided that the time was right to invest in a full store revamp. “We did a major revamp three years ago and we haven’t looked back since. It has been a real game-changer for the business. We turned the whole shop around, relocating the deli to the front of the shop and adding in a bakery section that we didn’t have before.”
Brian normally does the deliveries from the shop himself, but with the extra demand during lockdowns, he had some help from local volunteers. “The community were brilliant throughout the Covid-19 crisis, and we had lots of local volunteers off ering to help in anyway they could. It was a real help during a challenging time.”
The store now caters perfectly for their mix of customers, which includes local students and office workers on their lunch break and people living in nearby villages who visit for their weekly shop on the weekend. EUROSPAR Killorglin now offers customers a truly Supereasy Supermarket experience with an in-store Post Office, Bewley’s coffee, a new bakery section and Deli which is off ering customers an enhanced food-to-go selection. “Food-to-go is a very important part of our business and in the last few years we have been focusing on ready-made meals, freshly prepared in our Deli counter every day. These have been really successful with our local customer base. We have a carvery in our Deli so we have diff erent dinner options for our customers every day.”
It is fair to say that the business has an exciting future ahead and is in very good hands with Brian, Michelle and the team of 34employees. With a full store revamp complete and a busy and uniquely challenging period retail ongoing, Brian is confident for the next 12 months. “There are always ups and downs in retail, good days and bad days. I am confident that, along with the team at EUROSPAR, we will be able to get through whatever the next 12 months throws at us!”
Going above and beyond
The community of Killorglin, like every town or village, has been dramatically impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Brian is thankful that EUROSPAR Killorglin was one of the few businesses in the town that managed to remain open throughout the past two years, and he and the team went above and beyond to ensure that they supported the community as much as possible during this challenging time. “We have always offered customers home-deliveries, but these multiplied by five when the pandemic started. As well as delivering shopping we ended up popping into the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions or collecting letters to post on the way back.”