AS they prepare to close their shoe business in Newcastle West, Tim and Frances Kelly have moved to thank the loyal customers they have dealt with for more than four decades.
For the last 44 years, Tim Kelly has run his shoe shop - Shoe Republik - from Maiden Street in the town. Because of the Covid-19 lockdown he and his wife Frances have decided to retire at the end of this month.
"We had been planning this since last year and we were going to wait until after the year was out and Christmas was over but with conditions of trading now and everything we brought it forward and we decided why not go now," Tim told the Limerick Leader.
Since the closure - at the end of next week - was publicly announced, people have been flocking to the store to secure a bargain and to wish the couple well in their retirement.
"We have customers who have become great friends - loyal customers constantly coming back to us and the elderly customers that we have would come in and had a chat. It was lovely you know and that is what we are going to miss most - definitely," said Tim
Frances says it the reality of retirement hasn't sunk in yet.
"I am looking forward to it, it is a long time (working), I think is it is sinking in slowly and I am looking forward to it. Both of us have worked very hard building up our business down through the years - we were very very successful so we have tp be very grateful for those years of success - there are difficult times ahead and I think we have chosen the right time to go but we will miss out customers of course," she said.
Both Tim and Frances say the reality won't hit them until the doors of the shop are closed for the last time.
They say they are looking to forward to spending more time with their children and grandchildren and to travelling more in the post-Covid era.
Shoe Republik will close on Friday, October 2.