This past weekend, The Man’s Shop, otherwise known as Cooney’s Menswear, closed its doors, bringing to an end almost 66 years of business in the Main Street shop.
Managed by Michael Cooney, whose father, Michael, opened the store in 1949, The Man’s Shop has provided high quality fashion and an excellent service for the men of Longford and further afield down through the years.
Explaining to the Leader that the decision to close was made before Christmas, Michael admitted that he didn’t think they would see this side of the festive season.
Though he revealed that it has been a very emotional time, the local businessman added that the experience itself was a happy one, as customers past and present returned to share their memories and well wishes.
“It was just great to get that sort of feedback,” Michael smiled. “We felt ourselves that when we left, we sort of left it on a high.”
Michael undoubtedly has many memories of his years in the store, but it’s the atmosphere of the outlet that holds the most significance for him.
“Overall I always think that everybody here had a lot of fun.
“It was a good place to work and it was a good place to shop.”
Despite the success it enjoyed since its establishment, Michael revealed that it was financially “impossible to continue”, admitting that the last few years in the shop have been “difficult”.
“It wasn’t viable anymore,” he added.
It’s a situation that is not unique to Michael, nor to Longford in general, he pointed out.
“Retail at the moment is very, very difficult,” he stated.
Though he pointed out that the problem was not in Longford alone, Michael went on to say, “Longford is hurting, there’s no doubt about that,” before continuing, “Everybody in retail has really been hanging on by their fingertips.”
According to Michael, many businesses are hoping to “weather the storm”, but he conceded, “we don’t know really when the storm is going to finish.”
Thanking customers and staff for all their support, Michael said that working there for so long was a pleasure.
“It was an honour for us to be here for all those years,” he admitted. Extending his thanks to all who have worked with him, in particular, Phyllis Donnelly, Michael concluded by saying, “I am grateful to everybody who passed through the doors over the years.”