Tuesday 24 April 2018

The Happy Pear twins keep it in the family by bringing their 'wise' dad on board ahead of expansion

With a second café and further expansion on the horizon for the Happy Pear twins the brother's say that creating a movement not money as always been a driving force for them.

Dave and Steve Flynn
Dave and Steve Flynn
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

As they are about to open a Dublin café and are looking at plans for further expansion of their health food empire, The Happy Pear twins opted to bring in re-enforcements in the form of their dad, Donal.

Foodie entrepreneurs, Dave and Steve Flynn, will open a second Happy Pear in Clondalkin, West Dublin next month and are looking forward to building a community there.

The food brand - which includes a flagship cafe in Greystones, Co Wicklow, several cook-books, their own-label foods and a significant online following - was started by the brothers in 2004 as a small veg shop.

"When we started this it was about starting a movement or a ripple effect, it was never just about starting a café or a veg shop," Dave said.

"We were excited and passionate . And now it's grown from me and Steve in a little red van [to this]," he added.

The brothers now have 150 people working for them and have recently brought their dad, Donal, on board as interim CEO.

The Happy Pear Twins Steve and Dave with Dustin the Turkey at the City Specacular Launch.
The Happy Pear Twins Steve and Dave with Dustin the Turkey at the City Specacular Launch.

"We wanted someone with a helicopter view and experience of a growing company," Dave said.

Their dad - who he says is a "wise grey-haird man" has "alway helped with strategy" so with after securing investment of €1.5m recently it was a natural decision to bring him on-board Dave said.

Another brother, Darragh, also helps with the "nuts and bolts" side of the business.

The pair are looking at "different models to see what feels right" when it comes to further growth but more café's are on the cards.

They are also looking across the water but with Brexit looming they will be going forward "cautiously" Dave said.

Despite their success Dave said money "has never been a driving force and it still isn't".

"Our parents always instilled in us that if you work hard and do things well money is a by-product," he said.

"Initially we were going to start a non-profit. Steve wanted to call the first shop 'Flynner's fruit and veg for social change' but it wouldn't fit across the shop front.

"We had a sign-writer come out and it literally wouldn't fit."

Not quite as catchy as The Happy Pear but Dave said the brothers have stuck to their original plan to create a movement around healthy food.

Certainly, their message is being well-received - especially among millennials and their social media presence is something that the pair put substantial effort into.

Steve is the twin most likely to be the brains behind the Instagram post of the twins in an impossible yoga pose or after their sunrise swim (which they do daily).

But off-line there is a growing awareness among people about what they are eating Dave said but he is wary about putting people off before they have even tried an alternative to traditional diets. 

"[The word] vegan puts a lot of people off, they feel it's can be a bit religious and it can make people go 'I'm not one of them' but for us it's just about food being healthy and fun," he said.

At the moment the twins are looking to their opening in the Round Tower in Clondalkin, west Dublin.

“We’re excited about it, it’s going to be very much part of the community,” Dave Flynn told Independent.ie

“People’s initial reaction when we say Clondalkin is sometimes to say ‘didn’t you mean Clontarf?’,” he said.

But the twins were very particular about where they wanted to expand to and said there is an “amazing community” in Clondalkin.

“We wanted somewhere we could build a community and not necessarily just have a transient customer base,” he said.

“We didn’t feel like we would have the same impact in other places.

“We are really looking forward to getting involved, visiting all the schools and to try and have a positive impact.”

The twins will be making an appearance at the Laya Healthcare’s City Spectacular event in Dublin’s Merrion Square on July 9.

The three day family focused festival which runs from July 7-9 is free.

More information can be found here.

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