Books

Limerick bookstore stands the take a look at of time and is prepared for the subsequent chapter

TO MANY, O’ Mahony’s book-lined window appears as previous because the very material of time, and this yr Limerick’s flagship retailer is trying again at six unimaginable generations of commerce.

After 120 years in enterprise, they traded by two world wars, with their first yr of enterprise marking the invention of T-Rex fossils and the introduction of the notorious teddy bear.

Frank O’Mahony, managing director, stated his grandfather JP O’Mahony began the enterprise in 1902 with three staff, no cats and a small store of about 550 sq. ft.

“In 1973, the yr I began working full-time, we had 26 staff in a retailer of about 5,000 sq. ft,” Frank stated, including that he ran the shop along with his brother David till 2018, after which he was left to “ carry the can.”

Right now, the household owns 5 shops, in Limerick, Tralee, Ennis, NUIG and UL, using between 80 and 120 folks with the 120 O’Connell Road retailer masking practically 16,000 sq. ft.

Though the storefront has seen many iterations through the years, Frank remains to be in awe of the loyalty and dedication of a few of O’ Mahony’s prospects over the previous 120 years.

He described O’Mahony’s as “greater than only a bookstore” and stated it was touching to have so many common prospects visiting the shop.

“We’re lucky to haven’t solely loyal prospects, however a gaggle of devoted, long-time staff who convey a wealth of data and persona to our shops,” he added.

One instance was discovered when the crew was digging by previous archival materials, in search of decades-old mementos and retailer historical past to share as a part of commemorative occasions.

Ann (81) from Limerick wrote to the shop in 1984 and once more in 2020 to reward the crew for the unbelievable job they do.

She stated: “I’m 81 years previous and have been coping with you for a lot of, a few years – as an avid reader I’ve had the chance to buy books throughout this pandemic and your postal service has stored this woman very glad.”

President Michael D Higgins additionally speaks fondly of the O’Connell Road retailer, recalling the times when, as a toddler, he arrived on the place that began him on a lifelong journey of books and literature.

The crew additionally found three previous ads positioned within the Limerick Chief within the early 1900s. One provided image frames, stationery, passbooks, gold quills, prayer books and rosary beads.

A second marketed Christmas playing cards and calendars, whereas a 3rd enticed potential prospects to purchase a deck of gold-rimmed taking part in playing cards.

Whereas instances have modified and the bodily guide has been challenged by digital and audio variations, Frank stays out of part, stating that in-store guide shopping for has continued to strengthen throughout the pandemic.

“Books have immediately develop into well-liked within the media once more. Issues like BookTok on TikTok have been superb. If something is talked about about it, gross sales undergo the roof,” he stated.

He added that guide gross sales have been strong in recent times and proceed to rise. He stated “the long run is vibrant” and that oldsters are “valuing studying as an academic instrument.”

“If the final eighteen months have taught us something, it is that the long run is essentially unknown. However a few of my grown children are already planning for the a hundred and fiftieth birthday celebration in 2052 and the 2 hundredth birthday celebration in 2102. Undecided if I will do that one, however you may consider me,” joked Frank.

Keep watch over O’ Mahony’s web site and Fb for extra celebratory occasions, together with particular guide signings and the discharge of extra memorabilia and nostalgic archival materials.

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