Tuesday 23 January 2018

So what's in store? Old shoppers remember Clerys moments

Richie Niven from Clontarf was the first person through Clerys' doors at 11am yesterday
Richie Niven from Clontarf was the first person through Clerys' doors at 11am yesterday
Musician Bressie chatting with customers. Mark Maxwell

Aideen Sheehan, Consumer Correspondent

WOMEN dominated the queue of eager shoppers at the reopening of Clerys yesterday but it was a Glaswegian man who had the honour of being first in the door.

Richie Niven was the lucky punter who got to step across the threshold when the store's iconic clock struck 11 yesterday, to the amused outrage of hundreds of rivals queueing for the job who joked that "he's not even a Dub".

But Mr Niven said that after 30 years living in Clontarf he was as big a fan of Clerys as anybody else.

"I always found it the best value of any of the big stores, I remember getting a blazer here that was £60 cheaper than in Arnotts, so I'm delighted it's back," he said.

Thousands of people visited to see the newly revamped store, which opened after an enforced break of four months due to serious flash flood damage in July.

FAMILIAR

Most judged it to be reassuringly familiar despite the smell of fresh paint and the addition of some new concession outlets such as Carphone Warehouse and French Connection.

Esther White from Finglas recalled coming decades ago on a blind date with a friend to meet a couple of Welsh rugby fans under the clock – they knew it was them by the daffodils they were wearing.

Unsurprisingly that hadn't lasted, but an even fonder memory was coming here to purchase a beaver coat as a present from her husband.

"I was nursing my third baby and an assistant let me use a changing room to look after her. That baby is 53 now, so that tells you how long ago that was, I'll have to get that coat back down from the attic," she said.

Queen Shiang and Praises Baloyi, who are originally from South Africa but living in Ireland for years, were thrilled to get their favourite store back.

"I cried when it closed, it's like home here, it has everything you need, the quality and the restaurant and everything, you don't need to go anywhere else," said Ms Shiang.

Singer Bressie who was there to greet shoppers, said the store had also been part of his life going back years.

"As someone who's not from Dublin it was always where I'd come to meet up with people before going to one of the Four or Five Nations rugby matches."

It had also been the favourite store of his grandmother from Co Donegal, "she'd have been thrilled if she knew I was here at the reopening", he added.

Store director Bob Parker who's been with it 10 months since it was taken over by the Gordon Brothers, a US private equity firm, said there were special offers in different departments, but no overall big sale across the board.

He said the reopening was a huge day for them and they hoped to recover lost ground in the run-up to Christmas.

Irish Independent

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