For the second of this month’s retailer profiles, Kathy Jensen met up with Stewart Mulvenna, Manager of Apsley’s SuperShop in Larne, a thriving tobacconist, newsagent, giftware and greetings card business, as well as a busy cafeteria, in the centre of the town.
Apsley’s shop has been a fixture in the hub of Larne town centre for over 100 years, the original business selling souvenirs, lace, bric-a-brac and the like. For the past fifteen years, the shop has been owned by Bobby Little, who has a number of other business interests in Larne. The shop floor extends to around 1,400 square feet, plus the cafeteria at the rear, so it is much more extensive than initial impressions from the frontage might imply on a first casual glance and every square foot is put to excellent use to display a very wide-ranging selection of products.
Stewart Mulvenna has managed Apsley’s SuperShop for eleven years. “The key focus of the business has always really been on newspapers and magazines, tobacco, gifts, cards, confectionery, snacks and soft drinks,” he said. “We have been trading with Palmer & Harvey for many years, apart from a short period when we joined Nearbuy. However, we found that symbol to be too geared towards grocery and, eight months ago we returned to Palmer & Harvey as our main wholesaler and completely refurbished the shop and branded it under the SuperShop imagery, although the Apsley’s name is what everyone knows it by.”