Crunch bites into discount sector

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Ireland's new supermarket chain, Crunch, is expanding by opening up new stores.



15 June 2010

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A new arrival to Ireland’s discount grocery sector – Crunch Supermarket – is planning further expansion in 2010.
The new Irish-owned chain currently has three stores, based in Clonmel, Co Waterford, Moyvalley, Co Kildare and Tullamore, Co Offaly. A further three stores are “in the pipeline” for 2010, ShelfLife has learnt, and if all goes to plan  these will be based in Limerick, Roscommon and Portlaoise – while other sites are also being considered.
Crunch’s Clonmel store manager, Caroline Whelan, told ShelfLife that the chain began when owners “saw an opening in the market for a Lidl or an Aldi, but an Irish brand of a discounter.  They wanted to be Irish-owned and employ Irish people.”
UK wholesalers Rayburn and Parfait are large suppliers of the innovative new chain, yet owner Brendan Glynn said the chain sources “from a variety of people” and is keen to support Irish and local suppliers wherever possible, particularly in fresh categories.

Glynn’s background is in the restaurant trade – he also owns the Mother Hubbard chain of restaurants, which has five outlets across the country – in Moyvalley, Co Kildare, Cashel, Co Tipperary, Wexford, and two restaurants in Galway. He jointly owns the Crunch chain alongside directors Milla Young, Michelle O’Farrell and Gerry Sweeney. Financial controller Mark Toner also plays a key role in the business, having previously worked in financial services for GE Money.

All three current store managers; Caroline Whelan in Clonmel, Mary Daly in Moyvalley and David Horkan in Tullamore, are all locals who know their areas and customers well and Glynn said employing local, talented people is a key priority for the group.
The chain can also offer “cash and carry prices” by gaining better prices from suppliers by not doing “sale or return like other stores,” said Whelan. The group can also centrally distribute products through its own warehouse in Loughrea, Co Galway. Some private label brands are also available although the store is predominantly brands-focused.

Although the group has featured in several radio and newspaper ads, at the moment  the “customer service focused group” has said it will concentrate on perfecting its first three stores and building a strong local reputation before launching a full advertising offensive.  

Glynn adds the group has achieved a phenomenal amount since the first store opened in Moyvalley last July and that the stores have exceeded financial expectations and are “growing week on week.”



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