Former Avoca Handweavers managing director Simon Pratt has returned to retail after opening a new food store in Roundwood, Co Wicklow.
Pratt, who headed Avoca for about 15 years, opened The Roundwood Stores alongside his wife, Monique McQuaid, and her son Jake McCarthy, who is heading up the kitchen.
The store is focused on sustainability, local artisan goods — including selling home-grown vegetables picked fresh every morning — and other goods. It also has a bakery, courtyard garden seating area and small café.
Pratt said he was delighted to be getting back into business, describing The Roundwood Stores as the kind of shop he and his wife had always wanted to create.
“It is something we have always dreamt of doing,” he said. “It is the sort of thing when you have a bigger company that you can’t really do. When it is a small thing, it is just about passion.”
Pratt said the store would be “one of one” and he had no plans to open others.
“It’s a different path for me,” he said. “We are growing stuff, doing it organically. I think it is the future. It’s not big business — it’s the opposite — it’s slower, gentler. I think it’s what the world needs.”
Pratt was the head of Avoca between 2002 and 2017. Avoca was founded in 1974 by his father, Donald, who acquired a woollen mill in the eponymous Co Wicklow town. The company was sold in 2015 for a fee reported to be about €60m to US catering giant Aramark.