November 22: Let’s take this opportunity to boost local business

On Sunday, the Christmas lights will be shining brightly in the city. An early Christmas card from the giant Granny who stole so many Limerick hearts during her unforgettable visit in early September was dispatched from France this week and will be opened and displayed for all to see. Around the city and county – in towns, villages and in the heart of the city – traders are gearing up for the festive season with a sense of hope greater than in previous years.

On Sunday, the Christmas lights will be shining brightly in the city. An early Christmas card from the giant Granny who stole so many Limerick hearts during her unforgettable visit in early September was dispatched from France this week and will be opened and displayed for all to see. Around the city and county – in towns, villages and in the heart of the city – traders are gearing up for the festive season with a sense of hope greater than in previous years.

Economists tell us that people have more money in their pockets this year, or at least a greater sense of confidence about spending it. The property market is picking up, which means new home owners will need to furnish their properties and spend money they have been assiduously saving, while waiting for things to turn. So here is an opportunity – the first in at least five years – for the local economy to receive a substantial lift in the three or four weeks leading to Christmas Day.

Let us make sure that this opportunity is seized and that Limerick is the winner – not the shopping centres of Cork or Galway or Dundrum, or the online retail giants that might offer a keener price but have none of the service that Limerick’s retail businesses can offer.

Each year the Limerick Leader brings readers a series of supplements and feature pages highlighting the value and service available to our readers from businesses all over the county and wider Mid-West region. We deeply appreciate the support of those who advertise in these special supplements, because we are a business too, in a challenging climate, and we are acutely aware that without the support of local people – our readers and advertisers – the Leader could not continue to be the paper of record it has been for the past 125 years.

All things considered, Limerick has had a fine year to date, with the City of Culture designation proving a real hit with locals and visitors alike. It will be nice to be provided with a reminder of arguably the highlight of the local year, the Grandmother’s visit, when the festive shopping season is unofficially unveiled at the weekend. This spectacular creation succeeded in bringing Limerick together on that memorable weekend and more of this spirit of solidarity will give the retailers from our region the lift they so badly need. A good Christmas will make a world of difference and set businesses up for a successful 2016. It is not that long since there were reports that any number of shops were just about hanging in there until Christmas, ready to close their doors once the festive cash had gone into their tills. Thankfully, things are somewhat better now but for many reasons it’s vital that Limerick keeps it local this Christmas.

Finally, we were greatly saddened by the premature deaths of two of our advertisers, whose businesses have been featured in the pages for the Leader for many years. Gretta Fitzgerald, proprietor of the much admired Gretta Gibbs boutique, and Nevil O’Sullivan, owner of Nevil’s Shoes, were highly respected in the local community and have passed on much too young. Our deepest sympathy to their families.

on their untimely passing.