Customers have been delighted with the recent renovation at Joe Mannion’s Mace in Tuam, Co Galway, where the team work hard to deliver true satisfaction
16 June 2010
Owner: Joe Mannion
Size: 2,000 sq ft
Staff: 12 full-time
Good teamwork is an essential ingredient in the smooth running of any store, and store owner Joe Mannion is a retailer quick to highlight this point. Indeed, the fact he brings key members of his staff, store manager Martin Lambe and admin and accounts manager Lisa Ratigan, into his interview with ShelfLife serves to highlight how much he respects their viewpoints. “It’s a true team effort,” says Mannion. “Most of the team have been with us from day one and are very co-operative.”
He also praises the hard work and dedication of the corresponding staff members at his nearby Mountbellew store; store manager Eanna Mannion and accounts and admin manager Angela Kelly. This hard work has obviously paid dividends, as Mannion comments that the Mountbellew store – a “new adventure” which he took on just two years ago – is currently experiencing weekly growing sales. He
plans to invest further in this successful store which has been open five years in total and launch a “total revamp” in the near future.
The renovations which were completed at Tuam in December have undoubtedly provided a good example of the results that can be achieved. What’s more, the refurbishment had limited impact on trade at the bustling store, which benefits from a prime location for passing trade, on the main Galway to Sligo road. Mannion explains that construction was carried out “mostly at night” which created “very little distractions” from a trading point of view – essential as the store came into the busy Christmas season.
All three interviewees are agreed moreover that the store’s new layout, which was fitted out by Corkonian company, Storefit, has to date received a great response from impressed customers. Uplighted deep orange and blue Mace signage gives the store a warm, welcoming aspect, while Mannion explains that they decided to go for a Bewle
y’s coffee station because they wanted a coffee offering with guaranteed quality. This was an important consideration given the c-store’s high volume of passing trade meant they needed to ensure they could entice customers back to their store for their daily caffeine fix, over competing offers.
Designs on success
According to Mannion, Tom Duffy of BWG’s design team, was instrumental in securing a great finished result in terms of the shop’s appearance, while his local BWG rep, Tom Fleming, invested a “serious amount of hours” in ensuring everything went as planned at the Tuam store. Mannion adds that he’s extremely grateful for the “great support” likewise provided by BWG’s Kevin Cronin, managing director Willie O’Byrne and sales director Alex Banahan.
What is more, the store has also benefited from a revenue-boasting sideline, through providing outside catering for local businesses such as schools and factories. The store can provide a range of options daily as part of this service, including a full platter, hot meals and a choice of sandwiches and paninis. This has helped build up a good reputation for the Tuam store as a shop that can provide fresh, tasty and healthy options. Currently, three full-time staff work in the deli alongside deli manager Maria Moyne who has driven standards within the store. Moyne trained in catering in college and also gained a wealth of experience as a chef in a local hotel. She therefore knows the importance of delivering a reliable deli that consumers can trust, while Lisa Ratigan who is also in charge of HACCP control ensures the store is fully compliant with all its regulations.
Keeping it local
With such a strong team in place, it’s subsequently no surprise that the Tuam store has managed to win several awards including Best Deli 2007 and Best Mace 2007 at the Mace group’s annual awards. No doubt an important part of this success was the store’s friendly and motivated staff. However, while having staff who know customers well and have built up good personal relationships with locals over the years, is always going to create a better customer impression of any store, Mannion has cemented the community focus of his Mace by sponsoring local golf clubs, GAA clubs and vintage rallies. In keeping with this focus on the local area, he also does business with several suppliers within the locality, such as fruit and veg suppliers including the local mushroom supplier, and the local fresh bread supplier.
Looking towards the future, Mannion is confident that he can continue to build on the already notable successes of his Tuam and Mountbellew stores. He agrees that value has assumed much greater importance for customers in recent times, and as such, his shelves advertise the fact customers can pay 20% less by choosing Mace own brand goods. Standing on its current site for 10 years, albeit as a “small cabin” in its original incarnation; the Tuam store has had a noteworthy first decade – especially in the last five years since Mannion first purchased the store and took over its reins. The signs are now promising that the Miltown Road store will yield yet more pleasing results in the decade to come.