EMERALD Surfwear - the clothing range partly owned by Limerick surfers - is to reopen a store in the city centre for Christmas.
The company opened a ‘pop-up’ store on Henry Street, next to the Savoy Hotel, in an otherwise unoccupied unit over the festive season last year, and will return to the same unit from this weekend, owing to the previous success of the venture.
“We’re delighted to be reopening in Limerick for Christmas,” said Trevor Whelan, one of several local men, along with Ennis solicitor Alan Casey, involved with the brand. “Christmas in Limerick seems to be a time where people fall back in love with the city centre. Suburban shopping provides great selection for customers throughout the year but there is something special about the vibrancy in the city centre around Christmas,” he added.
The shop sells their own clothing range in addition to selling artwork and photography from artists based on the west coast of Ireland at no cost to the artist.
“We were delighted with the trade we did in last year’s pop up shop and we hope to improve on it again this year,” explained Mr Whelan, from Ballyclough, a city centre based businessman outside of his interest in Emerald.
The Emerald brand was founded by Casey in late 2009 to tap into the booming surfing market. Emerald have since operated shops in Dublin, Galway and Lahinch over the past 12-18 months.
“We’re growing all the time and we have a better product now because increased sales volume gives you access to better manufacturing options,” explained Mr Whelan.
“There is a lot of momentum behind the brand at the moment. We’ve gotten some great publicity from well known TV and sports stars being photographed wearing our clothes. I think in general everyone is delighted to get behind something that is Irish,” he added.
The idea for the ‘pop-up’ store was given directly to Whelan by the CEO of Billabong, whom the fledgling Irish company would love to emulate.
“The company has shown great growth potential during a difficult time but it will need increased resources if growth is going to continue at the same pace into 2012,” he said. “It’s a very hard time to be involved in anything touching consumer spending in Ireland right now. It’s nearly impossible to make a business viable in the Irish retail sector alone. We’re hoping to develop a wholesale export market into areas of large Irish emigration but those sorts of plans aren’t cheap.”