Farm Ireland

Saturday 25 November 2017

Making a championship stand to give shoppers the very best value in Athy

Gerry McCarthy

THE watchword for visitors to the Ploughing Championships this year will be 'value' -- and there is plenty of that on offer for those prepared to explore the hundreds of stands in Athy.

Apart from the machinery and livestock, a huge variety of exhibitors will be showing off -- and selling -- their wares.

From fashion to footwear, crafts to kitchenware, food and drink, to lifestyle and leisure products, there really is something for everyone at the event.

And many of the exhibitors are offering serious discounts on their products in an effort to entice visitors to part with their hard-earned cash.

Pat Stack, of Tralee-based Utensils (Stand 411), is offering a range of kitchen and cookware, with the majority of the products priced at €10 or less.

His stand will feature Victorinox knives, baking trays, loaf tins, cupcake liners and stands, cake-decorating sets, a huge variety of kitchen tools, scales, flasks, frying pans and SodaStreams. (Anyone remember those?)

Pat says all retailers are acutely aware of the need to offer the best possible value in these straitened times.

"Money is tight and people are looking for bargains," he says. "We will be selling quality, branded items at affordable prices.

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"Visitors to our stand will find a very wide range of essential kitchen and cookware products at value prices."

Brenda McGinn, of Busy Bee Ceramics, says products on sale at the Ploughing have to be affordable, otherwise they just won't sell.

Monaghan-based Brenda produces a range of vases, mugs, jugs, bowls and lamps, while she also creates special commissions.

She has even designed a special mug for the Ploughing Championships, which will be on sale at her stand (No 70).

"All of my products are unique and each one has a little bit of me in it," she says. "A lot of modern ceramics are a bit bland, but my products are all different and lively, and they all come with a story about the history of the piece and how I came to craft it."

Brenda says her products will range in price from €25 up to about €50, and she will have special designs on sale commemorating this year's championships.

"I've had one customer who wants me to design a mug for him with a tractor painted on to it," she says.

Evan O'Connor, of Classic Sheds (Stand 161), is hoping to attract buyers with his range of flat-packed garden sheds, stables, garages, chalets and other timber products.

Mallow-based Evan says those wishing to purchase his self-assembly products can make big savings by cutting out labour costs.

"For example, we sell a block of three stables for €4,300 and it will take you about a day and a half to erect this. All the wood is pre-cut and the hangers are even on the doors.

"If you were to buy a similar block and have it erected for you, the cost would come in at around €6,000."

To get a flavour of the work involved in erecting the sheds, Evan has posted a video on YouTube (, which takes you through the process step by step.

These three stands offer a mere glimpse of what's on offer this week in Athy, so get those boots on and start shopping around.

Irish Independent

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