Limerick traders learn perks of retail designation

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Tom Enright, director of economic development for Limerick City and County; Orlaith Ryan, Vision 2 Opticians; Fionagh Ryan, Ryan Jewellers; Bobby Kerr, Insomnia Coffee and guest speaker and Helen ODonnell, Limerick City Business Association pictured  at the meeting of Limerick City Traders at the Savoy Hotel
MORE than 100 traders were at a meeting in the Savoy Hotel this week to learn of the benefits Limerick has by being part of a unique retail project.

MORE than 100 traders were at a meeting in the Savoy Hotel this week to learn of the benefits Limerick has by being part of a unique retail project.

Limerick has been designated as a national Pilot City by Retail Excellence Ireland.

The move means traders can access expertise from the national trade body, and bid to improve trading conditions in the centre.

A number of committees have been set up with prominent traders at the helm.

Liam Dwan of Brown Thomas is chairing a committee aimed at bringing new retailers into the city centre.

Another committee, chaired by James Ryan of Centra, and Padraic Frawley of the Cornstore Restaurant will be tasked with re-engaging people with the centre.

Potentially, a number of regular events will take place to bring shoppers in from the outskirts.

One idea floated is that Limerick has regular, weekly late-night shopping.

Speakers included Tom Enright, the City Council’s director of economic planning, and Helen O’Donnell, chairperson of the City Business Association. It was chaired by Bobby Kerr, founder of Insomnia coffee, which recently opened a branch in Limerick.

Other schemes include free parking for part of Friday, further reductions in commercial rates for traders looking to take over vacant properties, and bringing in retailers which do not have a presence in the city currently.

Ms O’Donnell said a focus will be put on attracting traders to target the early evening crowd, between 6pm and 8pm.

Mr Enright gave an outline of the Limerick 2030 economic plan, which could generate up to 5,000 jobs for the area.

But he stressed action is needed now, saying: “Retail in the city cannot wait for that big plan.”