UP to 15 people have lost their jobs after the closure this week of the Centra store in Kilmallock.
At 10pm on Sunday night, the front door of the shop on Lord Edward Street was closed for the final time.
Monday morning shoppers arriving at the store from 7.30 were met with a large hand-written sign across the front door reading: “Shop closed! All support for 22 years greatly appreciated. Thanks all!”
The shop owner, Michael Riordan, declined to comment on the closure this week, but many locals have paid tribute to the businessman and praised him for his hard work over the last two decades.
“From Michael’s own personal point of view, it is very sad to see him closing his store and from a trader’s point of view, it is an absolute disaster, particularly because of the fact that it is another business closing on Lord Edward Street,” said Ben O’Sullivan, chairman of Kilmallock Town Traders’ Association.
“Up to now, you had up to 12 unoccupied commercial buildings up there, now it’s 13.”
The store which is located on the Kilfinane side of the town served a number of large residential areas including Riverview estate, Millmount and Gortboy.
It is also located in close proximity to the courthouse and library.
A shop has been located in the premises for several decades.
The news of the closure was met with disbelief among locals, with many taking to social networking sites to express their sadness.
At a traders’ meeting in the town on Monday night, local business people were given assurances from county and city manager, Conn Murray, that Kilmallock will play a big part in his plans for the region going forward.
“Mr Murray was very positive about the fact that Kilmallock is very much in their plans as one of the two centres in County Limerick - Newcastle West being the other one,” added Mr O’Sullivan.
“They will be promoting the industrial estate and he is also very interested in promoting the historical side of Kilmallock as well,” he added.
Mr Murray had been invited to the town by local councillor, Mike Donegan, during the summer.
Cllr Donegan described it as “a sad coincidence” that his visit coincided with the closure of the store.
“It was a very positive meeting and the county manager gave a good commitment to Kilmallock in terms of the future support of the council,” said Cllr Donegan who also paid tribute to Michael Riordan for his commitment to business in the town over the past two decades.
“Michael has shown great commitment to the town in terms of the employment he created and he was also very committed to the town traders. It’s just a pity the shop had to close,” said Cllr Donegan.