IT WAS another sad day for the retail industry in the city yesterday, as the long-established boutique Helene Modes closed its doors after more than 50 years in business.
Tearful staff were informed at a meeting at the Roches Street store yesterday morning, while owner Terence Cusack said he is “devastated”.
Mr Cusack, who ran the business for 42 years, described the decision to close the store as “devastating” and “like a death”.
“It’s very painful - for us, our staff, and I’m sure it will be for many of our loyal customers,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“It’s a hugely emotional time for us, but we just weren’t getting the footfall.
“Retail is changing, maybe more people are shopping online. I’m just gutted. A lot of other great Limerick stores have gone, like Eve’s and JR’s. It’s tough being an independent retailer,” he said.
Terence’s parents Tom and Nora Cusack ran the popular boutique, which drew customers from across the Mid-West, for nearly 30 years before him, along with his aunt Bridget Skeehan, now 98.
However, he said he did not wish to appoint blame for anyone else for the closure, which shocked its loyal fanbase yesterday.
“I don’t want to knock Limerick; everyone is doing the best they can for the city. The footfall just isn’t coming into Limerick for whatever reason. Some customers said their bus routes changed, others talked about parking. There are a multitude of factors, and the Crescent [shopping centre] is a very powerful presence.”
Mr Cusack, originally from Ballinacurra and later the North Circular Road, said a creditors’ meeting will be held in the coming weeks, and a liquidator may be appointed to take control of its remaining assets.
He said they tried to operate the business for as long as possible, while making “small losses”, but said it was no longer prudent to keep it open.
Their two full-time and two part-time staff were informed yesterday morning.