The closed doors at Shaws in Mountmellick, set never to reopen.
There is shock and sadness for locals and political representatives in Laois at the news that Shaws will not be reopening their Mountmellick branch, ending their 157 year presence in the town.
Cllr Paddy Bracken from Mountmellick was shocked to hear of the closure.
“It’s an awful blow to the town, it’s unbelievable. It’s a business decision but it is very unfortunate for Mountmellick, it will take people out of town again.
“This is where Shaws started and they have been a great employer through the years. I remember when they did menswear, shoes, dressmaking, it was a top shop and it is a fine modern premises,” he said.
Laois Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan is also from Mountmellick. He said that the closure is both disappointing and sad.
“I'm pleased the staff are being offered nearby alternatives and I acknowledge their dedication, many of them involved for decades. While the move is of course regretful and dispiriting it is reflective of the times and changing face of retail in Ireland and across the world. Covid has accelerated alternative retail trends.
“I thank the Shaw family for their long contribution to Mountmellick and Laois over generations. I hope the famous building in the heart of Mountmellick remains productive and in active use and as local TD I offer my help and assistance in this endeavour,” said Dep Flanagan.
Locals have begun an online petition against the closure. See more here.
Many have expressed their concern and opposition to the closure.
The shop on Parnell Street is where Henry and Annie Shaw opened a small drapery store in 1864. The family business expanded to Portlaoise in 1890 and then later to Athy and Roscrea and to other towns and counties, but holding on to their first shop which has a plaque noting its history on the wall.
The Portlaoise shop will reopen on May 17 with all other retail as Covid-19 restrictions ease.