Will flights be cancelled or
delayed if there is a no deal Brexit?
A no deal Brexit is not expected to have any impact on flight operations at Cork Airport. The EU has introduced new laws to ensure that flights between the UK and Ireland will continue to operate as normal even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK has confirmed that it will mirror these arrangements.
What queue should UK passport
holders use at airport immigration if the UK leaves without a deal?
At present, UK passport holders are processed through the EU channel at Cork Airport. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), which operates immigration at Cork Airport, has confirmed that UK passport holders will continue to be processed through the EU channel – however, this EU channel will be re-designated as an EU/UK channel. This means there is no real change at Irish immigration for UK passport holders.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, we will be changing the signs at immigration to make things clear for passengers. Cork Airport staff will also be on hand to help passengers to deal with any queries that may arise.
If the UK leaves without a
deal, what customs channel should UK arrivals use?
In the event of a no deal
Brexit the UK will no longer be in the European Union and ALL passengers
arriving from UK airports will have to use the Green customs channel or the Red
channel if they need to make a customs declaration.
No passenger arriving from a UK airport is entitled to use the Blue channel post Brexit, irrespective of their nationality. Revenue Commissioners staff who manage Customs at Cork Airport will be on hand to help passengers and to deal with any queries that may arise.
Will duty-free shopping return
for passengers flying to the UK in a no deal scenario?
Duty-free shopping will return on alcohol and tobacco products if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK government has said it will reintroduce duty-free for passengers travelling to EU countries in the event of a no deal Brexit. In that context, the Irish government has said duty-free will be available on alcohol and tobacco products for passengers travelling on flights to UK from Irish airports in the event of a no deal Brexit.
What allowances will people
have if duty-free returns on flights to the UK?
The duty-free allowances are likely to be the same as those currently in place for non-EU countries. These are as follows: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of smoking tobacco; 1 litre of spirits; 2 litres of liqueur, port or sherry; 4 litres of wine, and 16 litres of beer.
Will passengers travelling to
the UK from Cork Airport be able to buy duty-free perfume and cosmetics?
No. The Irish Government has said that under a no deal Brexit scenario only duty-free alcohol and tobacco will be available for passengers on flights to the UK. The Loop at Cork Airport will continue to offer Ireland’s best deals for beauty and cosmetics for all passengers, regardless of their final destination, with prices that are at least 15% cheaper than downtown stores.
Will there be any impact with
respect to security screening for Irish or UK passengers in a no deal
No. We’re not expecting any security changes for UK passengers or for any other nationalities travelling to the UK from Cork Airport. UK citizens and those travelling to the UK should continue to comply with all existing security processes and requirements.
What about the Common Travel
Area (CTA) between Ireland and the UK, does it still apply?
Both the Irish and British
governments have said the Common Travel Area (CTA) will continue to apply.
Under the CTA, Irish and UK citizens can move freely and live in either
jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements.
The Government of Ireland, the UK Government, and the EU have committed to maintaining the CTA and its associated rights and entitlements in all circumstances, including in a no deal Brexit.
Some airlines let me use just
a driving licence as ID for flying to Britain, will that change after Brexit?
Will I need to have a passport?
The Common Travel Area (CTA)
will continue to operate between Ireland and the UK in a no deal Brexit.
However, passengers will still
have to present proof of their identity to avail of CTA arrangements and
therefore will need official photo identification. Passengers should check with
their airline to clarify the type of identification the airline requires and
should travel with their passport if there is any uncertainty.
insurance or the lack of same has long been a bitter bone of contention for
many businesses in Cork city. I have seen at first hand the devastation that
flooding can cause to premises and the stress and worry it causes to the
operators who in many cases didn’t have and couldn’t get flood insurance cover.
This problem is, of course, not unique to Cork city and is indeed a national
issue. Hence the reason several years ago the CBA formed a strategic alliance
with the Irish National Flood Forum. Our objective was and is to ensure
locations which have seen Flood Defences installed to the 1 in 100-year
standard by the OPW, must subsequently be offered affordable Flood Insurance
cover. This regrettably is not happening and I can refer to Fermoy, Clonmel, &
Mallow as examples where the state has invested close to €130 million on flood
defences yet businesses and indeed many private residences are refused flood
this year, the Cork Business Association along with the INFF met with Insurance
Ireland and challenged them on why they were not offering flood insurance cover
particularly in the newly defended areas. Their main argument was the use of
demountable defences and the lack of agreed protocols for their deployment.
This position to pardon a pun does not hold water, demountable defences are an
integral part of most flood schemes and Insurance Ireland has failed to work
with any of the key stakeholders to agree on such protocols. Simply put it
suits them for the status quo to remain and they can use this lack of agreed
procedures relating to demountable defences as an excuse not to offer flood
In July this
year again on the issue of Flood Insurance, the CBA & INFF met with the
Central Bank where we expressed our concern at the lack of flood insurance
cover specifically in areas where the OPW have spent hundreds of millions of
Euro on completing world-class flood protection schemes in 18 towns across
Ireland. The issue of non-independent data being collected by the government on
the penetration of flood insurance in towns that have had a flood scheme
delivered was highlighted. The Director of Consumer Affairs with the Central
Bank did believe the information we presented warranted further investigation.
The Central Bank position was they needed to reassess the situation and revert
with their findings.
It is the view of the Cork Business
Association & the Irish National Flood Forum that legislation is the only
method that will resolve the issue of affordable flood insurance cover. In this
respect, we have been most fortunate to have the support and advice of Michael
McGrath T.D. who has tabled a private member’s Flood Insurance Bill 2016. This
bill is currently before Dáil Eireann, Third Stage better known as committee stage.
The next phase is to get the bill out of the committee stage into the report
stage / final report stage and thence to the Seanad. This, of course, will not
be a straight forward journey and there are powerful interest groups who don’t
want to see this happen. The Cork Business Association is committed to
achieving this objective for property owners both local & national and will
continue to support the INFF in this endeavour.
who met with representatives of the Irish Central Bank:
Cathal O Donovan Director INFF
Jer Buckley PRO INFF
Paul Kavanagh MD McCarthy Insurance
Michael Tully Balinasloe Flood
Lawrence Owens CEO Cork Business
Eamon Downey – Development Director
Owens McCarthy Loss Adjusters ( not in picture also attended )
Performers / Busking Bye-Laws
performing will always be an integral part of what our city offers. It greatly
adds to the atmosphere and vibrancy of our wonderful city. I don’t think many
would argue with that position and neither would the CBA. However, whilst most
street performers take into account their surroundings and what is the
appropriate volume for the area, there are unfortunately a few who feel
whatever volume they decide on is acceptable. This over-amplification,
sometimes to absolutely ridiculous levels, is unreasonable.
We have received many complaints from businesses in the city on this issue particularly on the level of amplification being used which is impacting on our members who are trying to conduct their business. What we are proposing is to regulate the art of street performers, particularly when it comes to the volume that some performers choose to use. The current situation is that Cork City has no bye-laws in place to regulate street performers and we are seeking to have this situation corrected. We have met with Councillor Joe Kavanagh, Fine Gael, on this issue and asked him that this matter be brought before city council to enact bye-laws that will give the Gardaí power of enforcement in this area. In essence, it’s all about balance.
Many of our
members have expressed to us their serious concern that the change in the Vat
rate from 9% back to 13.5% in the 2018 Budget is having on their business. In
our view, no commercial logic was applied to this decision a 50% increase and
in one budget. No consideration was given to adjusting this rate over several
budgets to allow businesses to cope, instead, it was applied in full at 13.5%.
Tourism sector alone VAT increase from 9% to 13.5% has meant an additional tax
burden of €466 million on the tourism industry this year. Ireland now has a
higher VAT rate than 27 countries in Europe, to improve competitiveness
Ireland’s tourism VAT rate needs to be urgently reviewed so that it is line
with European peers.
for the 2019 Budget are now being made by various sectors across the country.
In partnership with the Irish Hotel Federation, (IHF) Cork Vintners Federation
(CFI), Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) & representatives from the
Business Association facilitated a number of meetings with key politicians to
convey to them the seriousness of the issue and the urgent need for the vat
rate to be adjusted back to 9.5%, particularly as the uncertainty that Brexit
and the fall in the value of sterling is bringing to the tourism &
We met with
Michael McGrath Fianna Fáil spokesperson on finance on Thursday, September 5th
& An Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney later on the
Following these meeting, the below Press Release was issued:
Business Leaders Meet with Key
Politicians in relation to Budget 2020
Business Association in alliance with representatives of the Hospitality,
Services & Tourism sectors held separate meetings last Thursday 05th
September at the CBA offices at no. 5 South Mall, with Michael McGrath, Fianna
Fail spokesperson on finance, and later with An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney.
focused on the upcoming Budget for 2020 as well as the measures that need to be
enacted to stop the erosion of the sector’s competitiveness, viability and the
long-term sustainability of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and biggest
were frank and open and the serious concerns of the representative
organisations who attended were conveyed. The consensus was that the existing
VAT rate of 13.5% needs to be restored to 9% in the forthcoming budget in order
that these vital sectors future, and the significant levels of employment they
maintain, is secured.
attendance at the meetings were An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, Michael McGrath,
Fianna Fail spokesman on Finance, Lawrence Owens, Chief Executive CBA, Philip
Gillivan, CBA President and owner of The Shelbourne Bar, Aaron Mansworth,
Managing Director of the Trigon Hotel Group, Mike Ryan owner of the Cornstore
& Coqbull restaurants and representing the RAI, Sean McCarthy publican
& restauranteur and treasurer of the CVF, Neil Grant, General Manager of
The Celtic Ross Hotel and representing as branch chairman of the IHF, Kathleen
Healy, Darcy’s Hair Salon representing the services sector, Claire Nash, owner
of Nash 19, Michael Magner, owner of the Vienna Woods Hotel.
Initiatives / Review
The retail committee of the Cork Business Association has had several highly positive and constructive meetings with members of Retail Excellence Ireland. Looking at a range of innovative initiatives to improve the retail offer in Cork city. This is very much a work in progress and of course must include all the other key stakeholders in our city such as the Cork Chamber of Commerce, Cork City Council and others. International experience tells us that cities that work together in collaboration and partnership do best. Progressive retailers are embracing technology and driving an omni-channel approach within their stores for the benefit of us, the customers. Physical stores are part of our culture and investment in technology is being used to deliver a customer-centric retail experience, through click-and-collect, electronic shelf labels, real-time pricing, digital receipts/mobile vouchers, in-store virtual dressing rooms, etc. However, the core of the customer experience remains the physical store, and these innovations merely augment and add to the experience. The reality is that the retail landscape is forever changing, but while trends and preferences are cyclical, the delivery of a consistent, excellent customer experience remains at the core of all successful businesses. Cork in this respect through innovative initiatives such as the Customer service charter is well placed to deliver the consistent excellence in service that is needed. To keep our customers coming into town going into shops and interacting with people as opposed to shopping online.
Building Awards 2019
search has begun for Cork’s best designed and maintained buildings.
the 2019 Cork Better Buildings Awards 2019 are arriving in their droves with
business owners and building occupants right across the greater Cork area keen
to show off the exterior of their establishment.
Better Building Awards congratulate staff, managers, property owners,
developers, architects and designers for high standards in design, conservation
and creativity, and also salute the window cleaners, painters and maintenance
staff on their good practice in the presentation and upkeep of the buildings.
This significantly contributes to a positive public perception of the city as a
vibrant and dynamic place to live, visit, invest and do business in.
This year in
particular, we want to recognise the huge amount of expansion and planning in
Cork. To acknowledge this, we are delighted to announce that the 2019 Cork’s
Better Building Awards are open to any building in the greater Cork area.
Whether the building you consider worthy of nomination is in Ballincollig,
Glanmire, Blarney, Douglas or in the City Centre the CBA welcomes your
nomination and is urging every business owner, heritage building owner,
architect or conservationist to apply before the September 23rd deadline. You
do not need to be a member of the CBA to enter these awards.
of Cork’s Better Building Awards is that the public can also get involved and
nominate a building that they admire and believe is a stand-up feature in Cork
City. You do not have to own or operate the building itself to enter it in the
Cork’s Better Building Awards so please, share with us some of your favourite
Better Building Awards are supported by Cork City Council and our media
partners, The Echo.
Cork’s longest running business association and the Irish Management Institute partner to “equip leaders to build the future” in Cork.
At the beginning of July Cork Business Association was delighted to announce our new partnership with the Irish Management Institute (IMI) to continue our mission to support businesses of all sizes in Cork.
Founded by business leaders for business leaders, the Irish
Management Institute (IMI) has been empowering world-class executives for over
sixty years. This year, IMI was officially ranked as one of the top 50
executive education institutes in the world by the Financial Times. Through
sharing the latest information on upcoming executive development programmes
running in Cork, we will be in a position to provide our members access to world-class
We, the CBA, are extremely keen to continue to work closely with the IMI to provide our members in the Cork region with the highest level of speakers and panelists that will both educate and inspire attendees to propel their business forward through their own personal development.
The Insurance crisis affecting SMEs
A Cork Business Association event
in the retail, hospitality, tourism and events sectors are facing significant
challenges in procuring sustainable insurance premiums. Some are facing closure
due to insurance issues. Industry representative bodies are working hard to
bring about change through extensive lobbying of government and through the
media, however, SMEs affected by these issues need to take action in their own
The Cork Business Association is
hosting an insurance event for businesses in Cork city on 17 September at
5.30pm in the Metropole Hotel with a number of industry experts.
Peter Boland heads up the lobby group Alliance for Insurance Reform which enjoys a very broad base involving over 35,000 members seriously concerned about the insurance crisis in Ireland, who are immensely frustrated at the slow pace of reform. Peter will discuss the insurance crisis, the impact for retailers and the hospitality trade, and what they are doing to bring about insurance reform.
Bill Cremin, MD of Cool
Running Events Ltd., who runs iceskating.ie (including Cork on Ice) and is a
partner of The Nightmare Realm, will give insights into insurance for festivals
and events. Bill’s
company deals with claims every year. Despite this they manage to maintain
sustainable insurance cover for their business.
Bill will provide insight about how his company manages risk and
continues to thrive in a challenging insurance environment.
Brendan O Connell, Partner
at Ronan Daly Jermyn, acts for some of Ireland’s leading retailers and he
will provide insight on strategies to employ in determining when a case is
Clara O Neill from Total Planning
Solutions and Chair of the CBA infrastructure committee will speak about Cork’s
proposed Flood Defences and their effect on the availability of flood insurance
for businesses in the city.
takeaways for attendees will be among the following;
Learn about the insurance
crisis in Ireland and how you can lobby.
on how to manages claims to ensure sustainable renewal premiums in risky
advice on how to identify and manage risk in your business.
to position your business to secure sustainable insurance premiums.
Flood Defences for Cork and
how they may impact on the availability of flood insurance
Date: Tuesday 17th Sept
Time: Registration from 5.30pm, Presentations from
6-7.30pm, followed by a Q&A.
Venue: The Metropole Hotel Cork
Cost: Free for CBA members, €15 for non-members
Business Association has been working closely with the Cork City Council, An
Gardaí Siochanna, Cork Chamber of Commerce and various other stakeholder, over
the summer months in order to retain Cork’s Purple Flag status. The
international accreditation, awarded by the Association of Cities and Towns
Management, celebrates areas of excellence in the night-time economy and has to
be renewed every two years.
Victorian Quarter’ and the success of the public bike scheme were some of the
reasons given for Cork retaining its coveted Purple Flag status back in 2017.
We are confident that Cork will meet, and even surpass, the necessary criteria
required to retain our Purple Flag status this year.
beginning of the summer the CBA met with representatives from Q-Park on order
to discuss the introduction of the new parking rewards app which they had
previously launched in Dublin and the UK.
Rewards app is an innovative card linked app which works with Q-Park and Retail
Partners. Customers can earn cashback rewards from spending on parking and
retail spend, simply by registering the bank card in the secure app. Following
in-depth discussions into the processes and benefits of using this app, what we
found most interesting about this parking initiative is that the individual
business essentially controls what level of discount they offer and they can
make it appropriate to their business model. The app is totally independent of
Cork City Council as it only applies to Q-Park locations.
happy to welcome Cork City business owners into the CBA office for a briefing
session with members of the Q-Park team allowing them to share the information
about their new app and begin to build relationships between the retailers and
Meeting with Garda Superintendent
President Philip Gillivan & I, Lawrence Owens, met with Superintendent Colm
O’Sullivan who is in charge of Governance and operates from Anglesea Street. We
had a long and detailed discussion on the lack of Garda resources for Cork City.
We stressed our concern and that of the many businesses who have raised, and
continue to raise, this issue with us.
the Superintendent that we have written to the Minister for Justice Charlie
Flanagan, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, & Chief Superintendent Barry
McPolin all on the same issue of Garda resources for Cork City.
Our request is very straight forward we want to see Gardaí on the streets of our city, not in patrol cars but essentially boots on the ground. We received a commitment from Superintendent O’Sullivan that he would revert to the CBA in September on this matter. We look forward to his response and will keep you updated on developments regarding this vitally important issue.
one begin on this project which we all fully agree is so critical to the future
prosperity of the city, as it will have such a positive impact on so many
summer the CBA, in partnership with the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF),
Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), and the Cork Vintners Association
(CVA), held a number of meetings with all the key players involved with the
Events Centre; Ann Doherty CEO Cork City Council, Theo Cullinane, CEO BAM
Ireland and An Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD.
objective was to try and understand where the delays were in moving this
project forward and what our organisations could do to assist in the matter. It
was during this consultation process that, in late July, we learnt as you all
did that BAM was given notice that it must supply a Natural Impact Statement on
the impact to the Cork Harbour Protected Area (SPA) and the Great Island Area
of Conservation (SAC). Furthermore, they had been given six months to provide
To say we,
along with most interested observers, were baffled is an understatement. Since
the sod was turned on the site back in February 2016 this project has been
dogged by set back after set back. However, I now believe the requested
information has been supplied to Cork City Council planning department. We now
await planning permission and of course, await the objections to same which I’m
pretty sure will follow. Why does An Taisce suddenly come to mind?
last elephant in the room must be addressed; that of the finance for this
project which has yet to be resolved. However, despite the chequered history of
this project, I am still confident it will happen, I just can’t say when.
The Cork Business Association in alliance with representatives of the Hospitality, Services & Tourism sectors held separate meetings today, Thursday 05th September, at the CBA offices at no. 5 South Mall, with Michael McGrath, Fianna Fail spokesperson on finance, and later with An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney.
The meetings focused on the upcoming Budget for 2020 as well as the measures that need to be enacted to stop the erosion of the sector’s competitiveness, viability and the long-term sustainability of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and biggest regional employer.
The meetings were frank and open and the serious concerns of the representative organisations who attended were conveyed. The consensus was that the existing VAT rate of 13.5% needs to be restored to 9% in the forthcoming budget in order that these vital sectors future, and the significant levels of employment they maintain, is secured.
In attendance at today’s meetings was An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, Michael McGrath, Fianna Fail spokesman on Finance, Lawrence Owens, Chief Executive CBA, Philip Gillivan, CBA President and owner of The Shelbourne Bar, Aaron Mansworth, Managing Director of the Trigon Hotel Group, Mike Ryan owner of the Cornstore & Coqbull restaurants and representing the RAI, Sean McCarthy publican & restauranteur and treasurer of the CVF, Neil Grant, General Manager of The Celtic Ross Hotel and representing as branch chairman of the IHF, Kathleen Healy, Darcy’s Hair Salon representing the services sector, Claire Nash, owner of Nash 19, Michael Magner, owner of the Vienna Woods Hotel.
A Cork Business Association sponsored event addressing
the insurance crisis affecting SMEs
Businesses in the retail, hospitality, tourism and events sectors are facing significant challenges in procuring sustainable insurance premiums. Some are facing closure due to insurance issues. Industry representative bodies are working hard to bring about change through extensive lobbying of government and through the media, however, SMEs affected by these issues need to take action in their own businesses now.
The Cork Business Association is hosting an insurance event for businesses in Cork city on 17 September at 5.30pm in the Metropole Hotel with a number of industry experts. Those attending will get advice on how to get better insurance premiums and when to fight claims.
Peter Boland heads up the lobby group Alliance for Insurance Reform which enjoys a very broad base involving over 35,000 members seriously concerned about the insurance crisis in Ireland, who are immensely frustrated at the slow pace of reform. Peter will discuss the insurance crisis, the impact for retailers and the hospitality trade, and what they are doing to bring about insurance reform.
Bill Cremin, MD of Cool Running Events Ltd., who runs iceskating.ie (including Cork on Ice) and is a partner of The Nightmare Realm, will give insights into insurance for festivals and events. Bill’s company deals with claims every year. Despite this they manage to maintain sustainable insurance cover for their business. Bill will provide insight about how his company manages risk and continues to thrive in a challenging insurance environment.
Brendan O Connell, Partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn, acts for some of Ireland’s leading retailers and he will provide insight on strategies to employ in determining when a case is worthwhile defending/settling.
Lawrence Owens, Chief Executive of the CBA, will speak about Cork’s proposed Flood Defences and their effect on the availability of flood insurance for businesses in the city.
The takeaways for attendees will be among the following;
Learn about the insurance crisis in Ireland and how you can lobby.
Insights on how to manages claims to ensure sustainable renewal premiums in risky business
Practical advice on how to identify and manage risk in your business.
How to position your business to secure sustainable insurance premiums.
Flood Defences for Cork and how they may impact on the availability of flood insurance
Date: Tuesday 17th Sept
Time: Registration from 5.30pm, Presentations from 6-7.30pm, followed by a Q&A.
Event:Pieta House Open Day – A Feel Good with Pieta initiative
When: Friday September 20th 2019
Time: 1pm to 5:30pm
For Whom: Business/Corporate Management/HR/ Well being ambassadors/local media
How to book: Contact John Dempsey in Pieta House Cork, contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 439 5335, with your preference of time – 1pm-1.45pm; 1.45pm-2.30pm; 2.30-3.15pm; 3.15pm-4pm; 4pm-4.45pm; 4.45pm-5.30pm.
The Pieta House team invites you to visit. Come along to get a more insightful look into the work we do & why we do it, here in Pieta House Cork. Join us on Friday Sept. 20th. and see the facilities at the house. You will meet with different members of our team who will share their own experiences of working with very vulnerable people, the challenges they face, the significance of why we do what we do and the joy and satisfaction of helping those in crisis.
Since it was established to provide free and accessible, professional services to people who are in suicidal crisis or who are self-harming, Pieta House has worked with over 46,000 people, and has become one of Ireland’s leading charitable organisations.
Pieta House Cork began operating in December 2013 and its client base has grown exponentially since then. Previously situated in Highfield Lawn, Bishopstown, Pieta House was relocated to a new facility in Shanakiel House in June 2018 to enhance the services of Pieta House in Cork city and county.
As over 80% of its income comes from fundraising events and donations, Pieta House’s 15 Centres nationwide and three Outreach services all rely on fundraising and public support. Darkness into Light, Pieta House flagship fundraising event of the year, was highly significant for the Cork region this year with over 20,828 people taking part in the global fight against suicide held on May 11th out of a total 200,000 people globally.
The services Pieta House provide are crucial in today’s society and it is of the utmost importance that Pieta House have the staff and facilities in Cork. Pieta House offers these services free of charge to all seeking help. 1 in 7 adults have experienced mental health issues in the last 12 months and it costs approximately €1,000 to bring one person through the therapy service each year. Pieta House rely significantly on community fundraising to sustain the level of care needed.
Pieta House was established in 2006 to provide free and accessible professional services to people who are in suicidal crisis or who are self-harming. Pieta House also provides a freephone 24/7 Helpline, 1800 247 247, and operates a Suicide Bereavement Counselling Service providing free counselling, therapy and support to those who have been bereaved by suicide.
The following is an excellent article written by Owen Clifford, head of retail sector at Bank of Ireland, which featured in the Independent on Thursday 29th August 2019.
The future of retail is much debated, but often the way the debate is framed is inherently flawed. It’s not a question of physical versus online. The sector cannot be packaged neatly in such a binary manner. The foundation of retail is interaction with the customer.
Leading Irish-owned brands such as SuperValu, Dunnes Stores, Elverys Sports, Carraig Donn and numerous other family-owned retailers nationwide are continuously investing in their stores, their people and their offering, to deliver an excellent customer experience. They have not succumbed to new competition or the threat of online.
Instead of dying, they continue to be reborn and reimagined every day, every year, every decade.
These successful retailers have utilised the ‘four Rs’ of store investment proactively and effectively – reinvigorate, repurpose, rent-out and right-size – to ensure that they remain relevant and fresh in a competitive marketplace.
Retail is part of our culture; the concept of the marketplace in varying forms and manifestations can be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome, where it was a centre for human interaction and building meaningful customer relationships.
Psychologists tell us that we are, at our core, ‘social beings’. We continue to pack out venues to support our favourite sports teams or listen to our favourite bands when we could easily do the same from the comfort of our sofa. Why? Because we value and enjoy the human interaction and overall experience that these events provide.
In turn, we visit physical stores not just to shop but because we value human interaction and the experience that this provides.
They offer an escape from our busy lives and an experience that online shopping cannot replicate: seeing, smelling, trying and testing products, touching them, speaking with knowledgeable sales staff, engaging with other people in-store.
It is this core principle that underpins the future of the physical store. Successful retailers know that their stores need to reflect the vision and values of their customers, creating a positive experience.
Technology is not a threat to the physical store and will never replace the human aspect in retail.
Progressive retailers are embracing technology and driving an omni-channel approach within their stores for the benefit of us, the customers. Physical stores are part of our culture and investment in technology is being used to deliver a customer-centric retail experience, through click-and-collect, electronic shelf labels, real-time pricing, digital receipts/mobile vouchers, in-store virtual dressing rooms, etc. However, the core of the customer experience remains the physical store, and these innovations merely augment and add to the experience.
Numerous international reports point to three key areas for customers in visiting a store and, more importantly, revisiting the store – the ‘boomerang effect’ as outlined so well by the late Feargal Quinn. These three pillars of customer engagement are: excellent service and standards, accessibility and price.
I have visited over 250 family-owned retail businesses throughout Ireland over the past two years and I continue to emphasise the importance of a balanced customer engagement strategy for their business, that encompasses all three pillars. Indeed, for SMEs competing opposite larger multinational operators, it is imperative that they maintain a strategy across all three strands and are not overly focused on just price. Price is just one element of value, along with quality and provenance of produce, and supporting the customer with their health and wellness agenda.
Progressive retailers recognise that regular investment in their stores is a fundamental element of creating an excellent customer experience. Our own data shows that leading retailers are investing amounts equating to five to 10 weeks of turnover in transforming their stores every two to four years. This equates to 10pc to 20pc of an individual store’s annual turnover performance.
A robust investment plan draws on feedback from existing and targeted customers, employees and suppliers. It’s an holistic, interactive process ensuring that the retailer remains engaged with the customer and wider community. Smart retailers know a well-planned and executed investment strategy can deliver recurring, significant return on investment. To quote Don Draper from Mad Men: “Success comes from standing out, not fitting in.”
However, I have also witnessed retailers spending six-figure sums on store revamps and not receive any uplift in sales or margin.
Without a strategy that has planning and constant evaluation/engagement at its core, a revamp will not deliver an appropriate return on investment for the retailer.
Once the buzz of the official relaunch has taken place, the store will slowly return to the status quo and the retailer will be the latest victim of a ‘Cinderella revamp’.
The reality is that the retail landscape is forever changing, but while trends and preferences are cyclical, the delivery of a consistent, excellent customer experience remains at the core of all successful businesses.
More and more e-commerce retailers are complementing their online offerings with physical stores (Amazon and Alibaba being just two examples), and most physical retailers are using online to ensure they remain engaged with their customers.
Commentators signalling the death of the bricks-and-mortar store are driving a negative storyline in respect of the SME retail sector at present.
It’s a misguided narrative, based on the evidence to hand, and should be challenged. The future of retail is bright – let’s all continue to enjoy the experience.
Five Cork city centre stores have been selected in Retail Excellence Ireland’s top 100 stores, from almost 700 entries. It recognises their superior commitment to customer service excellence and customer engagement.
Paul McGuirk, Head of Local Enterprise, Cork City said:
‘We are delighted that five Cork city centre stores have been included in this year’s top 100. We have worked closely with the City Centre Forum over the last two years to provide customer service training and supports to businesses as part of the Cork City Customer Service Charter. The fact that four of the five city centre businesses have undertaken this training is testament to the success of this.’
The five city centre stores included are ‘Vibes and Scribes’ bookshop on Lavitts Quay, ‘Diane O’ Mahony Jewellers’ on Winthrop street, ‘The Kilkenny Shop’ on Emmet place, ‘Specsavers’ on Opera Lane and the visitors shop at Nano Nagle Place on Douglas Street. As part of the Top100 selection process, all store entrants were visited by a mystery shopper, with those exceeding service and standards criteria making it to the Top100 stores.
Set just outside the city centre, Phelan’s Pharmacy in Blackrock Hall also found itself ranked highly amongst Retail Excellence Ireland’s Top100 stores. (Phelan’s Pharmacy also have a presence on St Patrick’s Street in Cork City Centre.)
Joan Lucey, owner of Vibes and Scribes and one of the main advocates for Cork City’s customer service movement, said:
‘We are delighted with this result for the city and believe its another step in our customer service journey. Customers now want a real connection and a very high-quality service, so we all need to look regularly at our offering’.
Earlier in the year, Cork City was the first city in Europe to launch a Customer Service Charter, which was developed with the assistance of CIT School of Business. The City Centre Forum and the Local Enterprise Office are also planning two significant customer service events over the coming months.
The first of four ‘Welcome to our new city’ family fun days across the extended Cork City will take place in Glanmire this Saturday, August 31 from 10.00 to 14.00.
Hosted by Red FM in association with Cork City Council, Lord Mayor Cllr. John Sheehan will be in attendance at an event welcoming the residents of Glanmire to Cork City.
The Lord Mayor will begin his traditional annual visits to Cork city schools next week, visiting 119 schools in total – with 22 of these in the area that transferred into Cork city three months ago.
Three more ‘Welcome to our new city’ family fun days will take place at Douglas, Blarney and Ballincollig over the coming Saturdays.
Lord mayor, Cllr John Sheehan said:
“ I am honoured to be attending the ‘Welcome to Our New City’ fun days and to be the first Lord Mayor to visit schools in the newly extended Cork City. The traditional annual visit by the Lord Mayor has been enjoyed by generations of Cork students, dating back to Terence McSwiney in the 1920s. In the coming weeks, we will be visiting schools in Ballincollig, Glanmire, Douglas, Frankfield, Grange, Blarney, Tower and Whites Cross as well as working to build connections between the wider communities of the new city”.
Fresh from their performance at this year’s Indiependence Music & Arts Festival, Glanmire musical group ‘Aura’ will bring the tunes this Saturday.
There will also be a giant Jenga and Connect 4 for families to get stuck into and coaches from Cork Sports Partnership will be organising street games and races. We will also be joined by voluntary community groups who will be on hand to talk about the many services and supports they offer:-
SAFE (Suicide Awareness For Everyone) in Glanmire is a group formed in 2009 following a number of suicides in the community. SAFE Glanmire will join us to share information on their support services.
Riverstown FC is an amateur football club based in Glanmire. They cater for boys and girls aged 6 up to adult level. They will be free to chat about the growth of the club and will be giving advice to anyone interested in joining the team!
St John’s Ambulance is a voluntary organisation which provides medical cover at events and first aid courses for the public.
All are welcome – but make sure you arrive early! There will be prizes to win from local businesses and the first 100 people to join us will enjoy 100 free cupcakes.
With less than four weeks to go until multiple Leeside venues, streets and public spaces come alive with the sights and sounds of music, dance, theatre, art and much more, preparations are in full swing to ensure that Cork City Culture Night 2019 leaves a lasting impression. Launched on Wednesday 28th August by Cork City Culture Night Ambassador and Derry Girls star Siobhán McSweeney, this year’s event boasts a programme of events that will draw crowds in their droves into the city on Friday 20th September, all keen to catch a glimpse of the action taking place in over 100 participating venues.
Cork’s Culture Night celebrations in 2019 will reach farther afield than previous years thanks to the recent boundary extension, which has seen the city bounds stretch to areas such as Ballincollig, Glanmire, Blarney, Douglas and Whites Cross. Those unable to make it into the centre of the city on the night need not worry about missing out; with events such a photography exhibition and short film screening at Ballincollig’s Gunpowder Mills Centre and a traditional music session in Glanmire, culture vultures all across Cork can immerse themselves in the buzz and excitement.
Speaking as this year’s Cork City Culture Night was officially launched at the Triskel Arts Centre, Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr John Sheehan commented:
“Cork plays a huge role in maintaining Ireland’s reputation for the vast cultural heritage and sheer volume of talent that exists here, across all facets of the arts. Culture Night in particular offers us a unique opportunity to showcase the many wonderful strings to this city’s bow, in terms of drama, music, literature, art and much more. I would encourage the people of Cork to make a point of circling Friday 20th September in their calendars, to take the opportunity to tour this wonderful city of ours over the course of the evening, and to soak up the many free events on offer across more than 100 artistic and cultural venues. It’s truly a chance for us all to ‘Wrap Up in Culture’ and lose ourselves in a little magic for one night only.”
In a city that celebrates the arts in many ways all year round, what is it that sets Culture Night apart from any other day of the week? There are three key criteria that distinguishes a Culture Night event or venue:
It must be a free event
It must be open and accessible to the public after 4pm
Participating venues must offer something different from the norm
The latter point is incredibly evident within the 2019 programme of events, with a vast array of venues, from cafes, pubs and theatre spaces to educational institutions and art galleries all going above and beyond to ensure this year’s celebrations are as unique as they are memorable. Examples of such events can be found at Cork University Hospital, who are offering tours of their in-house art collection from 5pm – The West Cork Collection – which consists of 32 artworks and is kindly on loan from Paul and Aileen Finucane, while the Quay Co-Op will play host to an evening of short film, presented by IndieCork Festival and kicking off at 7pm.
Younger culture vultures will certainly not be overlooked this year, with a variety of fun and interactive events taking place across the city. The ‘Around the World in 80 Games’ extravaganza at City Hall, one of this year’s highlights, will introduce young people, and indeed people of all ages, to a unique intercultural experience, inviting them to participate in games from the past, games from other cultures and street games we all know and love.
Pitch’d Circus Arts Festival returns for 2019 and will feature street performances and circus spectacles, including a teenage circus club at Skiddy’s Plaza, building to the explosive highlight of the Inferno Fire Show, which will light up the skies of the Coal Quay on Cornmmarket Street. Cork Community Art Link in Blackpool has a real treat in store for young creative minds, inviting guests to view props, floats and costumes used in The Dragon of Shandon Parade, join in an open workshop demonstrating techniques used in creating the Dragon and all her spooky friends, and sign up to get involved in The Dragon of Shandon 2019.
Cork actress Siobhán McSweeney was quick to share her enthusiasm over her status as ambassador of Cork City Culture Night; an annual entity that showcases the city’s deep connection to the arts.
“I feel truly honoured to be the ambassador for an event that embraces and celebrates the rich culture that exists in my home city. Although I’ve spent the past 15 years working all across Ireland and the UK, my support of Cork and its affiliation to the arts has never waned. Cork City Culture Night has been in existence for more than a decade and there is a reason for such longevity; this city’s relationship with theatre, film, art, music and more is enduring and I hope we continue to cherish our creativity for many years to come. Whether you’re a regular culture vulture or a newbie on the Culture Night scene, this night is guaranteed to be a memorable one, so let there be no doubt surrounding where you need to be this coming September 20th!”
For more information on Cork City Culture Night 2019, visit www.culturenightcork.ie or keep up to date with programme additions by following the conversation online #CorkCultureNight and #LOVECulture. Check out Facebook\corkcityarts or Twitter @corkcityarts. Culture Night is brought to you by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Cork City Council.
The search is on for Cork’s best designed and maintained buildings.
Cork Business Association (CBA), in association with Cork City Council, have officially launched the Cork Better Building Awards 2019.
These awards congratulate staff, managers, property owners, developers, architects and designers for high standards in design, conservation and creativity, and also salute the window cleaners, painters and maintenance staff on their good practice in the presentation and upkeep of the buildings. This significantly contributes to a positive public perception of the city as a vibrant and dynamic place to live, visit, invest and do business in.
This year in particular, the CBA also wants to recognise the huge amount of expansion and planning in Cork. To acknowledge this, the Cork Business Association are delighted to announce that the 2019 Cork’s Better Building Awards are open to any building in the greater Cork area. So if the building you consider worthy of nomination is in Ballincollig, Glanmire, Blarney, Douglas or in the City Centre the CBA welcomes your nomination and is urging every business owner, heritage building owner, architect or conservationist to apply before the September 23rd deadline.
Whether you have recently upgraded the exterior of your building, have designed a stunning new build, painted or decorated your building, invested in the upkeep of an old building, introduced a new use for your building or you are just extremely proud of how your building looks, don’t delay and enter online or pick up an entry form explaining which category or categories you wish to be considered for and why.
The beauty of Cork’s Better Building Awards is that the public can also get involved and nominate a building that they admire and believe is a stand-up feature in Cork City. You do not have to own or operate the building itself to enter it in the Cork’s Better Building Awards so please, share with us some of your favourite Cork buildings.
The CBA has tactfully devised eight categories, including the prestigious Judges Choice Award, so your much-loved buildings have more than one chance of being crowned one of Cork’s Better Buildings for 2019.
The categories for the 2019 awards are:
Best in Retail
Best in Heritage & Conservation
Best Pub Front
Best Commercial Business Frontage (excl. retail)
Best Tourism, Arts & Accommodation
Best New Development
The awards will be presented by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, at a complementary invitation-only lunch for award winners at the Cork City, Clayton Hotel, on Friday 18th October.
In addition to this, all the 2019 winners will also receive extensive media coverage in Cork’s favourite newspaper and the Cork’s Better Building Awards media partner, the Evening Echo, as well as promotion right across all Cork Business Association’s platforms and inclusion in the Cork Business Association’s quarterly newsletter, Cork Connected.
Speaking about the awards, Lawrence Owens, CEO of Cork Business Association, said,
“The number of cranes currently visible in Cork’s skyline is a clear indicator of the amount of development in progress in our city with anestimated €1.3bn worth of projects started or completed last year. This is positive news for the future of Cork as the urban form continues to evolve with new and innovative projects.The Cork Better Building Awards, which we are thrilled to partner with Cork City Council on again, are a fantastic opportunity to encourage businesses to improve their facades and consequently the overall look of the city. The judging team put a lot of focus on recognizing maintenance and simple good housekeeping of buildings, tasks like painting and cleaning, planting and enhancements that make the very best of the building. The facade and exterior areas of a building are one of its biggest selling tools, particularly in a business context so one of our main aims in running these annual awards is to encourage everyone to have pride in their buildings and foster a pride of place in Cork”.
Also commenting, Ann Doherty of Cork City Council, said,
“Cork City Council recognises how important it is to acknowledge and reward property owners who keep our buildings to a high standard and, in doing so, highlight Cork as a fantastic place to shop, work and live. In 2019, it is really positive to see that the occupancy levels continue to increase and we are thrilled to welcome new retailers, pubs & restaurateurs and other businesses to Cork. We are delighted to support these awards again and would encourage all to participate.”
Last year’s winners included Crowley’s Opticians, L’attitude 51, Caughlan’s Pub, Casey & Kingston Auctioneers, Vila & Selected, Vienna Woods Hotel, Pilz, Egan’s Opticians, Old Model School, and the Judges Choice Award for 2018 was awarded to Nano Nagle Place. Entries this year are open to all buildings in the greater Cork area and to all previous winners again if they so wish.
We want to see your building portrayed in its best possible light so please send us a recent, high resolution photograph and/or video of your building to enhance your entry. Your entry will not be complete without the inclusion of a photograph of your nominated building.
The closing date for applications is Monday, September 23rd 2019 to afford the judges time to inspect and visit the nominated buildings.
If you think your building is worthy of winning one (or more) of the categories, or if you would like to nominate a building, please fill out an application form on www.corkbusiness.ie or call 021 4278295 and we will post the form to you.