ONE of the country’s top businessmen, Fergal Quinn, was in Ennis this week to share his business expertise with local shopowner and baker, Carrie Gardner.
For his RTÉ TV series Retail Therapy, Fergal chose Carrie’s business, Carrie’s Cakes, on Salthouse Lane, Ennis, as one of the businesses the show would feature.
The television crew were with Carrie this week filming for the show and popped into The Clare Champion as part of Carrie’s marketing survey of her new breads.
Carrie has only been in business since the spring and, like many businesses, is finding it hard to get ahead in the current economic climate. She is eager to take on board Fergal’s advice.
“Fergal Quinn has been a great help to me but I’m not at the end of the road yet. There is a lot hinging on how my relaunch goes and how many more customers I can attract in to buy my cakes and breads,” Carrie said.
Fergal explained that he was looking for interesting businesses with diverse challenges. “Carrie’s business is still very young but there is a lot of potential with her shop and with her as she is so energetic and determined. One of her downfalls is thinking that she can do it all herself, which isn’t possible for anyone. But she is an ideal candidate to take advice because she has a lot of potential and is very eager to learn,” he commented.
Carrie said the hardest part of running and working in her own shop is the length of her days. “My days have been at least 16 or 17 hours but Fergal has made me see that this is not sustainable, so he has been looking at ways with me where I can get as much done in less time, without dropping standards in any way. I definitely have a lot to learn and I feel that Fergal is the best person to help me with that,” she said.
“I do worry about the long hours she is working. She needs to do simple things like setting the clock on her oven to come on, rather than going into the shop at the middle of the night to turn on the oven. Carrie is young but so was I when I started developing my own business. What counts in business is flair and belief in yourself. She is a great listener and has wonderful ideas,” Fergal added.
Part of Fergal’s plan for Carrie is for her to increase her offering of freshly baked breads. “There is a real market for different breads now. People always love cake but nowadays people expect different flavoured breads and I feel there is a real market for that in Ennis, so hopefully that will help her business. We also want the smell of freshly baked bread wafting out from her shop regularly enticing customers in,” Fergal explained.
Carrie is planning to relaunch her shop later this month. She will be featured on Retail Therapy in the new series of the show in the early spring.