Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.44 19 Sep 2020


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The proprietor of Ireland's first dedicated PPE shop says there has been a queue since he opened his doors on Monday.

Martin O'Byrne opened The PPE Shop in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin due to the demand for hygiene products.

He also owns menswear shop Frewen & Aylward in the town, and has described himself as "a guy in the rag trade pivoting into PPE".

He told Down to Business: "The first day was Monday, Bobby, and there's been a queue since Monday morning."

"There's more people in Dún Laoghaire than there is on Dawson Street, Bobby".

"By way of example there's an opportunity in every suburb in Dublin with people living at home.

"I couldn't have opened up a business a better week in Dún Laoghaire, because it's the same week that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council have launched their plans for a new town square in the town.

"Trying to spend a lot of money to bring our main street up to the same quality as our seafront".

"How I ended up in this business or in this shop: I didn't want another €2 shop, or a charity shop, or a vape shop, or a phone shop.

"Bobby, you know me a long time and you know I've got a passion for town centre rejuvenation - especially the one that I have a vested interest in, that I live in and have a business in.

"And it was a blocking maneuver that I ended up taking this shop for a number of reasons.

"I've absolutely no idea whether Frewen & Aylward is going to be closed this Christmas - the same as every other retailer in Ireland doesn't know whether there's going to be a lockdown."

"If I'm closed down here at Christmas, I'm gone.

"So if I have an essential service business, I can trade - it came about from that way".

"I worked on this for six months and I am very lucky, I've surrounded myself with the best brains in this business.

"And my father always said to me: surround yourself with more intelligent people than yourself, and I've never had a problem finding them", he joked.

"I'm not the smartest fella in the class, and I cannot believe that somebody else didn't open up a PPE shop.

"People are fed up buying online, it's taking forever to get the stuff, they don't know what quality they're getting.

"And I have learned more Bobby in the last five days standing on that shop floor from the customers walking into me.

"I'm talking about healthcare people, procurement managers - all walks of life - from school kids coming in of 12 years of age to a granny at 85 years of age".

"If you're a salesman, you're a salesman: it doesn't matter what you're selling".

'There's been a queue since Monday morning' - The man behind Ireland's first PPE shop

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Main image: An employee counts face masks at a factory in in Nairobi, Kenya. Picture by: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

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Bobby Kerr Down To Business Dublin Dun Laoghaire Martin O'Byrne PPE Shop The PPE Shop

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