There was shock and dismay in Portlaoise last Tuesday morning April 29 when news spread that Ging’s Homevalue hardware shop had suddenly closed down.
Signs placed in the windows of the shop in Kea Lew business Park state the business is ‘closed until further notice’.
Owner Joe Ging has declined to speak to the Leinster Express, but the family posted an announcement online, blaming the recession for the collapse.
“It is with deepest sadness that after over 24 years in business in Portlaoise, we announce that we have had to close our doors. We could not fight this recession any longer. We would like to thank our customers, our friends for your support over the years. We would especially like to thank our loyal wonderful staff, some of whom have been with us from the start. They are like family to us. It is an emotional time for all concerned,” the message reads from Joe, his sons Christy and Paul and daughter Helen.
There is widespread sympathy in Portlaoise and the county for the family, with many messages of support.
Andrew Shaw, manager of Shaws Portlaoise, is shocked at the news.
“It’s hard to put into words. We are very sorry for them, we know the family, we have worked with all of them. My dad Mervyn worked with Joe for fifty years. We are very sorry to see Gings go, I hope something comes out of it,” he said.
Business is still very tough on the ground he says.
“There are a few positive indicators, but it is not really seen on the ground. At best it’s flat. It is particularly tough for DIY, because it’s so seasonal,” he said.
Ging’s began as Gaze & Jessop hardware on Church Street, moving up to Centrepoint in the 1970’s.
Joe worked for them along with his father Christopher and brother Christy. He bought the business from Shaws in 1990.
In recent years it moved to Kea Lew Park, with Joe’s sons Christy and Paul, and daughter Helen taking on the running, while Joe continued to have an active role, much loved by customers.
His granddaughter Kelly recently set up a café and successful cake business from the premises, Kelly Lou Cakes, which will continue.
Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan is hopeful Gings can yet be saved.
“It is bad news for the Ging family, for the hardware business and for the town. Joe Ging is an institution in Portlaoise, working hard for 57 years. It is my hope that a portion of the business, if not all, can be salvaged,” he said.
Andrew Cremin is former president of Laois Chamber and the manager of the EBS in Portlaoise.
“We are stunned, shocked and saddened, to see a long standing business go. The Ging family have always been associated with Portlaoise, they are well known and very well thought of,” he said.
Ger Mulhall is Chairperson of Downtown Portlaoise business group.
“I was deeply sadden to hear the news of Gings Closure, it has sent shivers through every family business in Portlaoise. Our public representatives and our County Council need to work on safety net schemes for our local businesses,” he said.