'A hidden gem': Rural Cork store sees bump in business during hard times

It's an ill wind that blows no good and there's a fine breeze flowing into some rural shops which are experiencing an explosion in business.
'A hidden gem': Rural Cork store sees bump in business during hard times
Glenmore Stores: A hidden gem in Cork's east. Pics: Eddie O'Hare

It’s an ill wind that blows no good and there’s a fine breeze flowing into some rural shops which are experiencing an explosion in business.

Glenmore Stores, which you could argue is ’’in the middle of nowhere’’, is just one of them.

Liam Ring and his wife, Colette, who own the outlet — which is between Glanmire, Carrigtwohill, Glounthaune and Knockraha — are seeing faces they never saw before. And while they know that some will go elsewhere when the Covid-19 crisis recedes, they’re hoping others will remain loyal customers.

They believe the new trade is due to a combination of factors: The 2km restriction, the desire not to go into crowded shops and skipping the lengthy queues outside them.

“One woman who I’’d never seen before came in and said ’you’re like a hidden gem here’,” Colette said.

Liam explained that they carry so much different stock they’re like the famous corner shop depicted in the Ronnie Barker/David Jason comedy series ’’Open All Hours.’’

It’s a little gem for hardware, electrical and farming products.

Liam Ring showcasing some of the stock in Glenmore Stores
Liam Ring showcasing some of the stock in Glenmore Stores

“I’ve a huge range of stock. They are all over the place (in the stock room). It’s organised chaos but I can usually put my hands on things,” Liam said.

However, he has adjusted to current demands as well: “Because people were stuck at home I realised they would be looking for paints, brushes, compost and gardening equipment. Colette recently got a huge trolley of bedding plants and they went in a day."

The paint and brushes are disappearing nearly as quickly from the store they’’ve owned for the past 10 years.

“We’ve also a fierce demand for oil for lawnmowers, strimmers etc. People are still buying the basics like bread and milk of course,” said Liam, while Colette added that more people are doing their weekly shop there as well.

Glenmore Stores also sells petrol, diesel, tractor diesel, kerosene and coal. However, they are down to about a third of the motor fuel they normally sell. “That’’s because many people aren’’t travelling to work at the moment,” Liam notes.

The couple pointed out that Sunday mornings at the store are also much more busy even as people maintain social distancing rules: “This has become a social place for people. The farmers meet for a chat on Sundays in particular, that’’s because there are no Masses and no pubs open so they come here instead knowing their friends and neighbours will be here as well."

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