New lease of life: The former Wacky Shoes building O'Connell Street
LIMERICK has been hit by the so-called ‘donut effect’ in recent years – but now a shop selling the sweet treat is opening on its main thoroughfare.
The Limerick Leader can reveal that Cork firm The Shack is to open in the former Wacky Shoes shop in the heart of O’Connell Street, which closed last year.
Renovation work is currently ongoing to fit-out the donut shop, which will also sell ice cream and hot drinks.
Limerick businesswoman Helen O’Donnell said it is “disappointing” to see another food outlet open in the centre
She added: “We have a lot of eateries here. Obviously, I know the owner of that building was struggling to get a tenant. But its disappointing another food outlet is going in there. We have plenty.”
The silver lining, Ms O’Donnell said, is that at least the main street will not have to contend with an empty unit.
“But having another food outlet there is not ideal,” she said.
She said the city cannot expect to be able to bring in non-food retailers unless it creates spaces which are “more attractive” to the multiples.
Wacky Shoes closed in early 2017 after 20 years trading.
Its manager Peter Phelan said at the time the closure represented a “sign of changing times” in the retail industry, saying its target audience was increasingly buying shoes online.
”And as well as competing with other shops, we are also competing with our suppliers. Every brand we would stock would also have their own online presence.”
The ‘donut effect’ refers to a development where the city centre becomes more hollow or empty, as businesses and people move into the outskirts.
The Shack did not return calls.