A true cottage industry

Cork’s longest-running food emporium, Cinnamon Cottage, has come up for sale in its 21st year of cooking and trading.

The food company was established at the old Rochestown Cafe in 1994 — and has watched with incredulity since, as thousands of new houses and apartments followed its arrival, in Rochestown, Maryborough, Passage West and as the ‘outer Douglas’ suburbs mushroomed.

Now, its owners, chef Carol Muphy and businessman Kieran Corcoran, are stepping down, and Cinnamon Cottage comes to market this month with Peter O’Flynn and Philip Horgan of DTZ Sherry FitzGerald. They say it’s a hugely strong business, but with scope for further development. Price is €575,000 for the business as a going concern, and for the smooth-running building with commercial kitchen, cold rooms, retail and display, etc.

Turnover isn’t publicly disclosed, but is very strong, and has picked up well again, as the economy recovered in 2014, says co-owner Mr Corcoran. He said they invested €250,000 into a building upgrade in 2010, to maintain standards and service.

Main stock-in-trade is a large range of prepared fresh/freezer meals, plus bakery and confectionary. There’s a wide range of Cinnamon Cottage foods, condiments, coffees, wine sales (from Karwig Wines and Bubble Brothers), selected produce from up to 30 suppliers, as well as a small gift shop and sales of dried flower arrangements, which all add to the overall customer spend and spread.

“Cinnamon Cottage has built up a hugely successful business, and it still has the potential to be bigger. As it comes for sale, it can be taken on by a similar-type user or expanded into a much bigger brand,” says Peter O’Flynn. He says that Ms Murphy (Ballymaloe-trained) and Mr Corcoran are intentionally low-profile owners. This means the business is known for the Cinnamon Cottage brand, and is not personality-driven.

Sales are still primarily ‘over-the- counter’, and other options for growth include opening further stores under the brand, online sales and deliveries, part-cafe use and sales of Cinnamon Cottage foods in other outlets.

The food business — which employs six on full and part-time hours — is run out of a 1,400 sq ft property, bought and later extended by the couple after a short, exploratory lease in the early 1990s: it meets all building and catering regulations, with distinct and high-quality retail and commercial kitchen sections, with overhead stores.

DTZ’s Philip Horgan describes it as “turn-key, done to the highest standards and a chance to run a business which has been synonymous with Cork’s foodie culture for decades.” It typically trades 9.30 am to 6pm, is closed Mondays, and does a very strong Sunday afternoon trade, also. Traditionally, it closes for three weeks each January and July, and foodie fans have been known to fill freezers in advance of their holidays.

“We get busy for Valentine’s Day, then it picks up through St Patrick’s Day, into Easter, communions, confirmations to a lesser extent, and then it’s summer,” says owner Mr Corcoran.

At the foot of Monastery Road — “we were nearly an outpost when we started, but, after the building boom, we’re effectively a hub of Douglas/Rochestown now, ” Mr Corcoran says — Cinnamon Cottage is on the site of the original Rochestown Café, which was popular with train travellers in the Edwardian era: now, that disused rail line is a hugely-popular harbour-fronting walking route, linking Blackrock and the Marina to Monkstown — and walkers need sustenance.

Details:

DTZ Sherry FitzGerald, 021-4275454


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