A CUSTOMER survey has shown that over 50% of respondents want more early evening shopping in Ennis, with over 80% interested in either early evening shopping or earlier entertainment. The results of the survey were revealed at the recent briefing to businesses highlighting the retail opportunities available in the early evening in the wake of Ennis’ Purple Flag success.
The survey was carried out on behalf of the Purple Flag Working Group in three of the town’s largest accommodation providers within the Purple Flag area: the Old Ground Hotel, The Rowan Tree and the Temple Gate Hotel.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Killarney could be interested in following in Ennis’ footsteps. Representatives of Killarney Chamber visited the town and were very impressed with what they saw and the Purple Flag concept.
Ahead of the business briefing, in which several representatives from Killarney Chamber participated, a meeting was organised upon their request to inform them about Purple Flag accreditation. Here the concept and details of the criteria were outlined, also the Kerry group was introduced to Ennis’ secrets to success in achieving Purple Flag.
As part of the group from Killarney, the following persons were present: David Doyle of Killarney Town Council, Sgt Dermot O’Connell of Killarney Gardaí, Mike Buckley and Pádraig Treacy representing Killarney Chamber and Mark Sexton of Kilkenny Design.
The Killarney business representatives did a short walk-about before the meetings and were very impressed with the attractiveness of Ennis Town centre particularly the new visitor coach park built by Ennis Town Council at the Clare Museum. From Ennis, the meeting was joined by representatives of Ennis Gardaí,
Promote Ennis chair Brian O’Neill, town clerk Leonard Cleary, Ennis Chamber CEO Rita McInerney, Councillor Johnny Flynn and consultant Carmen Cronin.
“We were the delighted to have such a representative group from Killarney joining us in Ennis. As our experience has shown, Purple Flag is all about stakeholders of a town working together and as you would expect, Killarney definitely have this right from the beginning,” said Brian O’Neill, chair of Promote Ennis. “It was a huge pleasure to be able to share our knowledge of this prestigious accreditation that Ennis achieved as the first town in Ireland earlier this year. In turn, Killarney ‘did the teaching’ in the second part of the meeting by sharing experience as well as figures and facts about their early evening shopping success.”
Several detailed questions were asked and Killarney showed great interest in Purple Flag as a concept and have asked for full information about the accreditation.
In relation to the survey results, the speakers from Killarney advised that it would be important to have a fair trial peroid if longer opening hours were being considered. Statistics from Kilkenny Group operating late hours in Dublin and Killarney, showed that a minimum of 11% of total sales were achieved from their trade after 6pm with nearly 30% in peak times and locations.
David Woodford from The Irish Shop.com outlined, that they started opening later as a result of customer demand with the shop staying open in the peak summer time until 9pm. He advised businesses to overcome difficulties like staff employment hours by introducing flexible hours like 11-8pm. According to David, there are several others in the market area, who would like to opening longer this summer and he is hoping Ennis can develop a culture of late opening for visitors and locals.
The meeting finished with CouncillorJohnny Flynn outlining the advantages of a town team supported by a business improvement district (BID). He suggested to meet with street associations to form an interim town team and collect their inputs to shape the future of Ennis.