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Business Closures Spark Discussion On Carrigaline’s Future

Business Closures Spark Discussion On Carrigaline’s Future

Writes Jack White

Despite several empty units being filled in Carrigaline over the last two months, last week saw the official announcement of two business closures on Main Street Carrigaline, Ó Crualaoi’s and The Abbey.

The closures, though not connected, come as a blow to the business community in Carrigaline and though each business owner had their own,  reasons for closure, the announcements have sparked a lively debate on factors affecting business in Carrigaline such as traffic management, empty units, high rent/rates and the physical design of the town.

Carrigaline, which is set to become the largest town in Cork County once the local electoral boundaries are in place, has a population of approximately 17,000 with significant population bases in nearby areas such as Crosshaven, Tracton, Ballygarvan, Shanbally and Ringaskiddy.

A statement released on the facebook page of The Abbey read, “Due to circumstances beyond our control we will unfortunately be closing The Abbey on Sunday, 26th of August. We would like to thank all our customers for their friendship and support and all the staff who have made it so much fun.”

Meanwhile a statement released by a spokesperson for by Ó Crualaoi’s said, “Ó Crualaoi Butchers & Delicatessen will close its Carrigaline retail outlet on August 2nd, 2018. The company very much regrets the impact of the decision on the employees in Carrigaline and the directors have confirmed that outplacement support will be provided for all the employees.

The statement from Ó Crualaoi’s continued, “The Carrigaline store is one of five retail outlets operated by Ó Crualaoi Butchers & Delicatessen. The outlets in Ballincollig, Fermoy and Wilton are not impacted by this announcement. When the Carrigaline store opened in October 2010, a specific operating model was introduced. However, the model simply hasn’t delivered and the Carrigaline store has been loss-making.

The directors of Ó Crualaoi Butchers & Delicatessen wish to sincerely thank the employees and the people of Carrigaline for their tremendous support.

Ó Crualaoi Butchers & Delicatessen is a second-generation family business which was established over sixty years ago. Today, the company employs over one hundred people.”

Having worked closely with both businesses over the years, we at The Carrigdhoun Newspaper are very sorry to see them both go from Carrigaline.

Analysis & Action

Though each business closed for different reasons, it is obvious to anyone in business in Carrigaline that the streetscape is lacking diversity, that reports of extremely high rents and rates are too common and that traffic levels are making it an unattractive place for consumers to stop, or for new businesses to open.

For all the positive action taken by individual traders, community groups and residents in supporting local, it is important now that every business and local politician also takes time to identify the problems holding Carrigaline back and makes efforts to remedy them, with action.

In a recent article for The Carrigdhoun’s special supplement, #DiscoverCarrigaline, economist and local resident Dr. Frank Crowley (UCC) said, “Car dependency is at 78 per cent in Carrigaline. The area is highly congested in the morning and evenings. Less than one per cent of Carrigaliner’s commute to school or work by bike. Despite so many local schools and the industry hub of Ringaskiddy only being four kilometres away, planners have failed to design a safe, segregated cycling route between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy.” He goes on to say, “Improving walking and cycling routes would be ‘cheap wins’ on the congestion front and would encourage healthy urban living.”

In analysing the town centre, Dr. Crowley says, “But, we need more public spaces and local services, mixed in, amongst the estates. And we need to ask ourselves, is Carrigaline’s town centre worth coming to? Do we even go there ourselves? Or do we go elsewhere? How does it compare to the streets of Kinsale, Clonakilty and Kenmare? If we look at the best street models; they have less cars, are one-way or they are fully car-free. This is not a war on the car. If cars produced great spaces, where people would like to spend time, then that would be great. But, they simply don’t. Pedestrians and cyclists need to be put to the forefront of our public spaces if we want the public realm to thrive and we need to design good community streets. If you plan streets for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan streets for people, you get people. Carrigaline has a young, hardworking, tax paying demographic. It deserves good transit links within the city-region, more investment in its walkable and cycling environ, better designed mixed development and more investment in its public realm. But the way we have set up the game, (like the LUTS plan), undermine the potential for viable transit between Cork’s urban centres and undermines the potential to build strong integrated, well designed communities. You can read Dr. Crowley’s full article on: www.carrigdhoun.com

While issues for business will only continue if action isn’t taken, in the meantime we all need to re-focus on supporting local, and keeping the dialogue open.

We’d love to hear what you think via our Letters To The Editor section.

Crunch Food Owners Announce Business Sale

Separately, meanwhile, the popular Crunch Food Company, also announced their decision to sell up.

Owned by local entrepreneurs Susie O’Leary and Aimee Musgrave, a statement released on the company facebook page at the weekend said,

“Yesterday we waved good bye to our beloved little Crunch Food Company. After 5 years in business we made the difficult decision that it was time for us to sell up. We had become preoccupied with other projects and our personal lives had slowly begun to take over. Anyone who is self-employed will know your business is your baby and you need to be 100% committed.

Six years ago we returned from traveling with a plan to bring healthy eating to Cork. Little did we know we would quickly outgrow two kitchens, win Cork’s young entrepreneur of the year, source investment and above all create a brand people loved. The last five years have been the best journey, packed with love, laughs, tears, and above all hard work and learning. We have built ourselves houses. We have built life-long friendships. We have come out of every situation laughing till our sides hurt. We will miss our customers dearly and thank every one of you for the last five years. For now we are going to sip some bubbles while we contemplate life’s next little adventure.”

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