Support your corner shops – while they’re still viable


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Support your corner shops – while they’re still viable Support your corner shops – while they’re still viable

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Newsagents and convenience stores are closing in Galway City at a rate that should cause concern.

If it were pubs or restaurants shutting up shop for good, there’d be lobby groups up in arms.

But the small retailers, who sell pints of milk, newspapers, light bulbs, chocolate bars and sliced pans, are disappearing from the city’s retail landscape and nobody is shouting ‘stop’. And it’s not a good thing that they’re gone or going.

There are many reasons for closing and each is unique and particular to each individual shop.

Some of these reasons are straightforward, some are more complex. The bottom line, though, is that our shopping habits as consumers have changed.

There has been a growth in larger supermarkets since the arrival of the German discounters into Ireland. That’s had an impact, for sure.

Lidl and Aldi can buy in bulk and undercut the traditional newsagents that were often family-run businesses, handed down through generations.

More modern petrol stations with a diverse offering of confectionary, freshly-brewed specialist coffees, freshly-prepared breakfast rolls and even bottles of wine, have also heaped pressure on the old-style corner shop.

Covid-19 didn’t help either and hastened the demise of some city centre corner shops. The rising cost of keeping the lights and heat on is another factor.

The shops that survived have had to re-invent their offering.

It’s sad to see. More corner shops will go out of business unless we support them while they’re still viable and before it’s too late.

And when that happens, we’ll be left with generic retail spaces; streetscapes you’d find in any city in Brexit Britain, never mind the capital of the West of Ireland.
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 10 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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