Engaging with our Youth – The Retail Experience in Cork City

The Cork Business Association and Cork City Council have come together with St Angela’s College to work on an exciting new project for the present academic year. With the growth of online shopping ever increasing there is an inevitable knock on effect on our local retailers in Cork City centre. Cork Business Association and Cork City Council are aware of this potential threat to local business, and with the help of Ms Muireann Curtin of St Angela’s College, they have designed a Project Brief for the current transition year students attending St Angela’s College.

The general objective of this project is to “raise questions about the spending habits of young people in Cork City and promote the development of small local retailers”. This project is being guided by Ms Julia Campi from Sao Paulo who has worked on similar projects back in her home country of Brazil. This is a very practical live project that will greatly benefit both the transition year students and local retailers alike. The project is broken down into four stages and students will work over the course of the academic year to identify what types of products are available in Cork City, how the youth in Cork consume these products and what the overall retail experience is like for our younger generations shopping in Cork City. The students will then be given the challenge of identifying the global retailers who are continuously innovating and positively reaching the youth through various different channels and seeing how they can apply their findings on a local scale.


Philip Gillivan, President of the Cork Business Association, said,

“This is a fantastic new project, the first of its kind in Cork City and possibly even the whole country. I firmly believe we can learn a lot from these students and readjust our business models to reach this target market. Students of this age are very impressionable and if we don’t attempt to curb their spending habits now they will continue to shop online, to the detriment of our local small retailers.”

The CBA and Cork City Council launched this project today, Thursday 13th September, and met with over one hundred transition year students who will be taking part.

“The students are very eager and excited to take part in this new project with ideas already flying around the room. If we fail to listen to their needs and concerns now, we will lose them as they progress in life and the concept of shopping local will be alien to them. Cork City has so much to offer with an eclectic mix of products and services available on our doorstep and we look forward to working alongside these students and hearing their ideas on how we can improve their overall retail experience in Cork.”, commented Lawrence Owens, CEO of the Cork Business Association.


“We need to start a conversation between these transition year students, their generation, and the business community in Cork City. It’s a two way street – how the businesses can learn what the transition year students want regarding online shopping and how the students can learn the impact of buying everything solely online and how that will affect the vibrancy of the city going forward, their city. It’s a two-way conversation; the students learn the benefits of spending in the local economy and the business community learning that they need to be able to adapt and change to attract the next generation of shoppers to their shops, whether it be online or instore.”

“This is the first year this project will be rolled out with St Angela’s College however we hope to open this up to all Cork schools next year as we feel it’s a great opportunity for students to really interact and engage with the retail sector in Cork for mutual benefit.”, commented Mr Gillivan.


Paul McGuirk, Cork City Coordinator, said of this new live project,

“We are delighted to partner with the Cork Business Association on this exciting and innovative project which has a dual capacity to assist the transition year students at St Angela’s College in their learning process and will aid the Cork City retailers in their ability to adapt and change with the evolving consumer trends”.

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