Collin’s SuperValu, Carrigaline say farewell to their Financial Controller on her retirement.
Writes LEO McMAHON
On Good Friday, April 2nd, Ann Griffin, one of the friendly faces at the end of the phone in Barry Collins SuperValu, Carrigaline, retired after three decades of loyal and outstanding service.
A native of Tralee, Co Kerry where she attended the Sisters of Mercy schools at Balloonagh, it’s interesting to note and perhaps prophetic, that Ann got her first part time work during holidays in a supermarket. She went to work full time there on leaving school.
‘I then went to London for five years and worked from 1984 to 1989 for London Transport in its Estates and Valuations office located at Victoria.’
Ann returned to Tralee but soon after decided to come to Cork city where her sister Vera was working.
In early 1991, following an interview with Barry Collins at his accountants in South Mall, she was offered the position of office manager/personal assistant (PA) in the SuperValu supermarket in Carrigaline and commenced on February 5th.
Ann made another important decision in 1994 when she bought from the plans, her home at Cedarwood Close, Waterpark.
‘When I started work, it was in the old shop on the Main Street. Much of my work as financial controller for ‘Mr Collins’ - as I always addressed him - was dealing with the paperwork associated with the different family businesses which kept me very busy.’
These included not only the SuperValu supermarket but Fast Eddie’s Night Club, the Harp Bar, The Viscount Bar and a stall in the English Market in Cork plus a unit in Douglas Court Shopping Centre and later on, Barry’s pub in Douglas village and various other properties that Mr Collins owned.’
In 1998, came the Carrigaline Court Hotel which was officially opened by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, followed on St Valentine’s Day, 2001 with the official opening of the new Carrigaline Shopping Centre with its anchor store Barry Collins SuperValu.
Looking back Ann said: ‘I always had a very good relationship with Mr Collins. He was very much hands on and worked extremely hard building up the business and diversifying it. We rarely had an argument and yes, he could be cranky on the odd occasion, but then aren’t we all? However, he was always a nice man and very fair.’
In recent years, well after retirement age, Barry would come into the office in the morning, then head off for a round of golf, which he loved. He also had a great sense of humour and was a great storyteller who loved to reminisce and told many stories from his mother’s time.’
Ann also referred to the Trojan work of Barry’s family: David in the supermarket which is renowned far and wide; Ruth in developing the shopping centre and Peter at the hotel and Barry’s Restaurant and Bar.
The Collins family have always been great employers for the people of Carrigaline and district over many generations. Currently, the supermarket employs around 150 people and prior to recessions and increased competition, once employed over 200 full and part time workers. The Collins family’s service and contribution to the development of Carrigaline and district dating back to 1865 are immense and continue.
Ann said she was blessed to work with so many outstanding work colleagues, some of whom have over 40 years service. These included Deirdre Blyth (nee O’Reilly) and Joanne Hutton (nee O’Keeffe) in the office. ‘I’ve made many good friends through work and social events including staff outings, walking and Christmas parties in the hotel’.
‘One thing I will find strange in retirement is that for the past 30 years, I did my grocery shopping in my lunch break or in the evening before I left. I will now have to go grocery shopping !’ said Ann.
From working in the background of what is a huge operation at SuperValu, Ann has also formed friendships, through numerous phone calls and correspondence, with many people from countless companies and suppliers she never actually met
‘In addition, we regularly had people phoning up asking about times of masses, funerals and buses etc. That’s because it continues to be seen as the local shop where our store staff are great at interacting with and helping customers.
‘I’ve loved working here and being able to walk (20 minutes) every workday to and from ‘the village’ – was a real bonus. I’m now ready to move on to the next chapter in my life and being able to say ‘yes’ to whatever I’m asked and choose to do.
In 2015, Ann married Limerick man Ger Scully, who retired as an IT contractor three years ago. The couple plan to do more hillwalking with Crosshaven Walking Group and when Covid permits, more travelling and mini breaks at a time of their choosing. Ann said she also plans to do some voluntary work in the autumn and catch up with family and friends including her five sisters and three brothers in Tralee and Cork.
Speaking to The Carrigdhoun Newspaper in the middle of clearing out her office resplendent with lovely orchids, Ann Griffin said: ‘I’m very grateful for the employment I had over the past 30 years and I leave with lots of happy memories’.