Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.52 7 Nov 2020


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The man known as Ireland's oldest retailer has said that business is not just about money, rather it is about comradery and meeting people from around the world.

Tom Monaghan, who is 95 years of age, owns Monaghans Cashmere on Dublin City’s South Anne street.

He opened the store in 1960 and continues to run the business with his daughter Suzanne.

Tom said he is recovering well after contracting COVID-19 when he got a positive test for the virus despite having no symptoms.

Speaking on Down to Business with Bobby Kerr, Tom and Suzanne discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on the store.

Tom said: "From my point of view, it's very sad for me to walk by my business store and see the shutters down after all those years of successful trading.

"We know the footfall isn't there at the moment that people aren't coming into town, but we're hopeful that this will be shortlived and they'll come and shop with us again, particularly over the Christmas period.

"In my 60 years, Christmas has never been lean, it has always been a wonderful time and a wonderful shopping experience.

"It would be very sad for me if I couldn't shake hands with my customers and wish them well for the coming year."

Tom added that he has met people from across the world and this is what he enjoys most about running his business.

He said: "Well, the great thing about business is there's more to it than just selling for money, it's the comradery.

"I have met people from the four corners of the earth and we may not be able to speak the same language but were able to shake hands and give each other a hug and understand what we're doing.

"Those who could understand us, we discovered we have the same problems as they have, financial problems, family problems, health problems.

"I enjoy meeting people, it's not all about business."

'Dad is the king'

Suzanne said that her father is "a great man and we're so incredibly proud of him".

She added: "He's 60 years in business and to have gone through recessions, and COVID, and everything he's gone through and come out the other side and still be running a successful business and still be in store every day, you couldn't have a better role model."

Suzanne said her dad is still active around the shop, but is not very interested in the online side of things.

She added that people who come into the store want to see Tom, and that "Dad is the king, we're just his subjects".

She explained how Monaghans was adding an online presence to their store which is "getting better and better" each day.

Suzanne said: "We always had an online presence but we weren't e-commerce and after the first lockdown, there was a fear that this could happen again so we needed to be prepared.

"In order to do that, the costs were quite high by the time you hire the models and do all the photography to upgrade and go e-commerce.

"We were looking at over €10,000 which wasn't feasible at the time.

Suzanne's daughter then developed an e-commerce site for the shop which is doing very well for the business.

She said that a Government grant will contribute €2,500 towards the €5,000 cost.

She added: "Obviously we're not getting the business we would have if our doors were open but it certainly every day it's getting better and better."

Ireland's 'oldest retailer' says business is about people, not just money

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