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06 Jul 2022

Laois physiotherapist sisters turn coffee notions into business

Laois physiotherapist sisters turn coffee notions into business

Niamh and Aileen O'Loughlin, proprietors of Notions in Mountmellick

Two Laois physiotherapist sisters have turned their love of coffee into a thriving new business in their home town.

Niamh and Aileen O'Loughlin, both former county footballers and camogie players, recently opened a stylish barista coffee shop in Mountmellick.

Based off their physiotherapy clinic off O'Connell Square, it is hidden away from passing traffic but is getting plenty of local support.

"We opened six weeks ago. It's going great, it's really busy. We got a great response from the town," Niamh told the Leinster Express.

"We have the physio clinic there and we just think this space is lovely. We have a gorgeous walled garden and we love coffee," she said.

"It's off the street and I think people like that as well when they're sitting outside, it's not along main street or anything. We were drinking coffee down the garden ourselves, that's where the idea came from" Aileen said.

Mountmellick Community School is a big customer, both students and teachers they said, but many locals are also frequenting.

"A lot of people come in after our classes. People working from home come up at lunchtime. You can text in your order so you're not waiting.

"It was a big investment for us, but I think it's slightly different than anything else in the town. It's a different kind of market. We love coffee and spent a long time deciding on which coffee to get. It seems to be going down well," Niamh said.

They supply Badger and Dodo coffee, an ethical roasters from Cork who buy direct from Brazilian farmers. They also gave them their barista training.

Part of their motivation was pride in their home town. 

"We're from Mountmellick, we work here already, it is part of it. The other businesses around here feed off each other, it brings more business around," Niamh said.

"There was a surprisingly large amount of people in Mountmellick going to Portlaoise for coffee. They have said that when they come in here. It's in the town now and people have stayed local. The other places in town focus more on food, that's their market and they've lovely food. But if somebody just wanted a coffee, that's where we're hitting," Aileen said.

They are daughters of Michael and Kathleen O'Loughlin, retired teachers from Mountmellick CS. Their family have backed them all the way in the new venture.

"We want to thank all our family for their help from the very beginning when we came up with the idea. Our sisters Fiona, Aoife, Ciara and Emer, our parents and our partners Conor and Jim. From paperwork, legal and accountancy stuff to painting and shelving, coffee and menu tasting, they were there for us, a big thanks to each and all of them," Aileen said.

Mountmellick certainly has Notions, with matchas, chai lattes and in particular iced coffees popular with customers.

As well as working behind the counter themselves, they employ three part-time staff.

"It's been amazing. Everybody who comes in is very complimentary and supportive. I think people are just glad to see a business open rather than close. It's been great. Locals have been absolutely brilliant, definitely," Aileen said.

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