Wednesday 26 October 2016

Not a boom but Dublin is definitely on the rebound

Published 24/04/2015 | 02:30

Lorraine Boland, manager of clothes shop Ellen B, in Malahide. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Lorraine Boland, manager of clothes shop Ellen B, in Malahide. Picture: Steve Humphreys

After years of penny pinching, bistros and bars in the sunny seaside town of Malahide are relieved to see business beginning to pick up.

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"It's been slow but there's definitely a better buzz," Thomas Gibney, Manager of Gibney's Pub Malahide said.

"People are spending more money and the good weather definitely seems to improve everyone's mood.

"It's not a boom by any stretch of the imagination but things are going in the right direction," he continued.

"It's picking up - people seem to be in a good place and are willing to spend a bit more cash."

The staff of French dining restaurant, Bon Appetit, have also noticed an increase in footfall.

"Over the past year business has definitely increased," Sales Manager Emma Cooke said.

"That's partly because of economic factors and also because we reinvented and rebranded the dining room.

"We've had a consistent turnover of tables - which is great. I think changing the look and feel is essential to ensuring the restaurant attracts customers."

Home to Cecelia Ahern, Nicky Byrne, and Adam Clayton, Malahide is known for it's windswept views, fine fish restaurants and exclusive clothing boutiques.

"It's a destination spot for shopping," Lorraine Boland, Manager of clothes shop Ellen B, said.

"We have a lot of people from Northern Ireland come down for the shopping.

They stay at the Grand Hotel, spend time at the beach, visiting the boutiques - really make a weekend of it."

While business may not have fully recovered from the recession she believes there are "plenty of green shoots".

"More and more people are coming through the door," she said.

"We've been here for eight years now and things have definitely improved in the last two years. Slowly but surely we are getting there."

But not everyone believes a two-tier recovery is taking place throughout Ireland.

"It's a load of baloney," Maureen Lee says flatly.

"Retail is not up dramatically in Dublin. It's still slow."

Ms Lee has been a florist in Malahide village for the past 37 years and believes reports claiming that business is booming have been exaggerated.

"It's still difficult to make a living. We lost several corporate clients after the recession and they haven't returned," she said.

"I will always have customers coming through my door because people know I won't rip them off and because I have been here for years. But it's extremely hard to make it work.

"Just this week the children's clothing store beside my shop went out of business. It's very hard for small retailers."

Ms Lee also runs a florist in Swords and says the local commercial rates imposed by Fingal County Council makes life harder for small businesses.

Irish Independent

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