THE community of Kilminchy Village in Portlaoise has been dealt a blow, with the SPAR shop in the estate’s commercial area recently closing due to the economic downturn.
The shutters have remained down since January 17 on this local grocer’s store, which as recently as 2010 received a Five Star Award in recognition of excellence in areas such as shop presentation, customer care and food safety. In a sign posted on the glass of the locked front door, the management say:
“It is with regret that we announce that SPAR Kilminchy will close on Thursday 17th January. The economic situation in Ireland has placed huge pressures on all businesses and in particular the retail sector over the last number of years. Despite our best endeavours in a very challenging trading environment, it has not been possible to make the store viable and it is for this reason the difficult decision has been made to cease trading.
On behalf of the Management and Staff, we sincerely thank you for all you support and loyalty to SPAR Kilminchy over the years. Your custom has been very much valued and appreciated. Management & Staff.”
A cornerstone of the local community for some ten years, the SPAR was particularly well placed for the elderly residents of the nearby Sue Ryder Centre.
The manager of Sue Ryder, Mr Richard Conroy told the Leinster Express that the closure of the shop would have a huge impact on the centre’s many residents.
“For us it’s a big loss,” he said. “That’s where our residents went for their newspapers, milk, scratch cards, and we’re trying to find a way around it rather than having them struggling across the road to the filling station.”
Mr Conroy revealed that the centre’s staff are now trying to make arrangements with shops in the town centre to organise the residents’ shopping. He said that the residents now have to “get their heads together” and ensure their shopping lists are sorted out for when arrangements are made.
The end of the local shop marks another sad milestone in the troubled history of this tentative model village. Once a booming Celtic Tiger estate, parts of Kilminchy are in the process of being declared derelict and around 40 per cent has recently been taken in charge by Laois County Council.