Millers Hardware at Coliseum Lane, Portlaoise
One of Portlaoise's best known businesses has closed its doors.
Millers Hardware shop in Portlaoise has announced that it has closed, after 50 years in business.
The news was confirmed by owner, Pat Miller on Monday morning.
"I want to sincerely thank all our customers from all over Laois and the midlands area for their fantastic support over the years," said Pat Miller.
"To provide an orderly wind down of the business, we will have a facility in Clonminam Business Park (A4) where people with deposits paid, in for refunds, spare parts or service may contact us at 083 - 0452088.
"It was a huge decision on our part because we put all our resources and a huge amount of effort into it. We had great staff, with up to 10 people employed at one stage.
"We had the most fantastic premises, built in 2007/2008 at the start of the recession, it was a huge investment and if the economy had to continue at the level that it was at that stage we would be fine.
"We were penalised in a huge way for being innovative or entrepreneurial, we got hammered, because we wanted to improve the premises, the service to customers, layout and everything.
"It happened in a huge amount of businesses.
"There are a lot of issues, traffic management is pretty deplorable at the moment which doesn't help any kind of retail business.
"Stand-alone retail business in Portlaoise and Ireland in general are going to be a museum piece in ten years.
"Free parking and plenty of parking in particular is a major concern. If you come into Portlaoise definitely in 10 years you will have Lidl, Aldi, Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Heatons and everyone will say isn't it terrible what has happened to the centre of Portlaoise.
"We have fantastic memories, it is very strange I don’t know what to do with myself, I will have to go into a new learning curve after this but we are not going to lie down either, we will rise from the ashes again and re-invent ourselves.
"Personally for years and years I got a huge amount of satisfaction in terms of looking after people, the customers were absolutely brilliant. If it was only customers I had to deal with it would be absolutely great.
"When you are trying to run a stand alone business we are depending on the customers to come in to us and make a purchase. We come in here any morning at nine and we do not know what is going to happen, most other employees have a guaranteed wage coming into their pocket we purely don't know what is going to happen.
"If you look at any other section of the community they all have some kind of government assistance, we [retailers] need assistance, there is absolutely nothing available.
"It was very good for a long long time.
"We were willing and able and very keen to continue but it just didn’t work.
"If we could continue in some shape or form I know that people would definitely support us, we will rise again some day," said an emotional Pat Miller.