The owner of family business Timber Trove has fought to stay solvent throughout the depths of the financial crisis and is terrified that Budget 2014 may set them back again.
“Small businesses just can’t take any more increases at the moment. It’s just been too tough for the last few years,” said Shirley O’Kelly.
Based in Rathfarnham, the firm was set up by Shirley and her husband Henry in 1986. The pair have managed to keep the business alive for over 25 years – but not without financial pressures.
“We got involved with the construction sector and had a lot of contracts which we lost when the recession hit in 07/08,” Shirley told Independent.ie.
“We had fifty people employed – we had to make a lot of redundancies. It was very tough and we are now down to 12 people working for us.”
The family “tried everything” to increase the business over the last few years and decided to open up a coffee shop and gift store “which has turned a corner for us”.
“It’s a year opened and it’s doing really well. We’ve increased the workforce by an extra four people in the last 12 months,” said Shirley, adding that Budget 2014 may stunt this new-found growth.
“The 9pc VAT issue for us would be very serious because the cafe is only a year old so it would be very difficult to survive and to maintain the additional staff.”
The family invested their own money into the cafe set up and are dependent on its success – and the growth of Timber Trove.
“This is our only source of income,” said Shirley. “We’ve got three children and I have to pay the usual school fees and college fees.”
She reflects on the domino effect the impact Budget 2014 will have on the nation at large. “We need to get consumer confidence – we need to get people spending money,” she said.
“If people spend money, we grow our business and, in turn, create employment which will help the job crisis we have at the moment.”