Proprietor, Mary English, right with taff member Patricia McLoughlin
FOR THE first time in half a century locals in Doon won’t be able to buy their milk, newspaper or messages on the site of Anne’s shop on Main Street.
Pakie O’Brien, who bought the store with his wife Anne in 2006, said it was like a “wake” on Easter Thursday, their final day of trading.
“All our customers made it their business to be here and they were genuinely sad. They presented the girls with flowers, chocolates, bottles of wine and whiskey. We had a very loyal trade and I have to thank each and every one.
“We were known as people who talked to the customers. There was often a good argument about hurling and especially if Limerick and Tipperary were playing – It would be hotly debated,” said Pakie. As Anne is a sister of Eamon Grimes, they knew what they were talking about.
“I’d often say to the customers that if they went to a big supermarket they could do their shopping in peace!” joked Pakie.
Their daughter, Mary English, took over the lease five years ago but Pakie and Anne continued to work there. The good news is that unlike many businesses in rural Ireland, their hands weren’t forced and the premises won’t be left empty.
“We have sold it to local hairdresser Lisa Shanahan. It was still very profitable but the opportunity came up to sell it. On behalf of the O’Brien family, I want to wish Lisa the very best in the future,” said Pakie, who also thanked long term staff – Pauline Reale and Trish McLoughlin for their years behind the till.
The closure leaves just one grocery shop. Not so long ago there was also Peggy Lysaght's, Martin's and Anne’s. It follows the closure of their garda station, library, AIB and convent. Pakie can trace a shop at their old location on Main Street back to the late fifties.
“The first one I remember was Annie Darcy and her brother Mike. They were the first people to have ice cream cones in the area. When Annie Darcy died she gave it to her niece Betty Rainsford. Then Betty sold it to Pat and Bridget Bray who sold it on to Mr Kiely. When we retired from farming we bought the shop in 2006,” said Pakie. Despite their agricultural background they were well schooled in shop-keeping. Pakie’s brother Mick has a Spar in Borrisokane and Anne worked in Tom O’Callaghan’s Centra on William Street.
“Anne always said she would like a shop. Tom and John encouraged her to buy it and put her name over the door,” said Pakie. After a great 11 years they go back to helping out on the farm. “It was long hours but a wonderful time. In the boom we would open at 6 and there would be lorry drivers waiting to get breakfast rolls.”