‘This is particullay satisfying as it was our loyal customers that voted for us’
ALREADY recognised as of Cork’s shining literary gems, the award-winning Phillip’s Bookstore in Mallow has added yet another string to its impressive bow after making the long-list for the prestigious 2022 An Post ‘Bookshop of the Year’ award.
Now in its second year the initiative, an offshoot of the An Post Irish Book awards, was established to acknowledge and celebrate the significant role played by independent bookshops and local branches of chains in helping visitors to the shops find their favourite reads.
Book lovers from across the country were asked to vote for their favourite bookshop and explain the reasoning behind their choices, with the outlets receiving the most votes long-listed by judges and now asked to enter a written submission.
Phillips, which won the Customer Service award at the 2019 North Cork Business and Tourisms Awards and the following year was named Ireland’s Independent Bookshop of the Year in the prestigious British Book Awards, was one of two Cork shops to make the 12-strong long-list, the other being Kerr’s in Clonakilty.
Mystery shoppers will now visit all 12 outlets as part of the judging process, in order to choose the final six that will make up the shortlist, which will be unveiled on October 20.
The overall ‘Bookshop of the Year’ will be unveiled at the An Post Irish Book Awards event in November and will receive a trophy along with a prize worth €5,000 from An Post Commerce.
A family run business, Phillip’s was established in November 1989 by Philip and Catherine O’Flynn in a modest 400sq ft premises on Chapel Lane, selling general books and cards.
Two years later Phillip’s moved to a larger premises on Mallow’s Main Street, which proved to be a major turning point for the growing business, which remained the only bookshop in the area for a number of years.
Fast forward to 2008 and the O’Flynn’s daughter June moved back home from her travels and agreed to join the business, which coincided with it moving to its much larger premises at Bank Place.
This also gave the shop an opportunity to expand its offering to include school uniforms, new stationary lines, puppets and games. Last April Phillip’s again relocated to the 5,000 sq ft former Dunnes Stores building at 22 West End, which had been vacant for the previous 12-years.
Speaking to the Corkman June said making the 2022 An Post ‘Bookshop of the Year’ long-list was “particularly satisfying as it was our loyal customers who voted for us”..
“We are all delighted, absolutely over the moon. Out ethos has always been that a bookshop should be a relaxing and welcoming place, staffed by friendly, helpful and knowledgeable people. Making the long-list means that in the eyes of our customers, we have achieved this which is hugely important to everyone here,” said June.
“This is a wonderful recognition for the shop, for all the hard work that has gone into it over the years and our wonderful staff who make this such a very special place,” she added.