The new President of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) Carmel Felle is visiting Longford this week to meet retailers in the county.
Carmel is no stranger to Longford. She attended Ballymahon Convent of Mercy and her late mother Rose O’Reilly (nee McQuaid) was from Letterguillion, Drumlish.
Her connections with Longford are still very strong, with cousins in Longford town (O’Reilly’s Volkswagen) and Masterson’s Electrical in Granard counted amongst them.
CSNA is the representative body for retailers throughout Ireland and serves the business needs of 1,200 members in 1,500 stores.
“I have been a newsagent in Blanchardstown, Dublin for the best part of fifteen years and am very aware that small retailers are an important part of the community, whether in a Dublin suburb or in any of the towns and villages in Longford,” explained Ms Felle.
The CSNA President believes retailers provide a vital link within their community, but cautioned that out of town shopping centres and the growth of foreign owned discount outlets weakens these links and makes it more difficult for customers to shop locally.
She said that CSNA is committed to Irish retailers and ensure that their businesses can continue to serve their customers by providing assistance and bespoke financial consulting as well as a wide range of deals designed to reduce their business costs.
One of her areas of concern is the growth of sales of tobacco in markets and door-to-door, trends she is keen to learn from her fellow retailers throughout Longford of their experiences in this regard.
Ms Felle commented: “I would also be advising our members that selling a newspaper makes a lot more sense than giving one away free of charge; we must support local paid for newspapers who provide us with an income, rather than given shelf space to a free paper that has developed a business module that is damaging not only to our retail trade, but also to our long-standing trade partners, the local paper.”
CSNA is also very concerned that the Government are proposing to insist upon all tobacco retailers being licensed by the Department of Health, despite the fact that they are already registered with the Office of Tobacco Control in what Ms Felle says is an additional and wholly unnecessary additional compliance cost for retailers from a Government that were elected on promises of reducing compliance and red tape.