Store focus

Daly’s Supervalu, Aughnacloy

Brexit is ‘no barrier’ for Daly’s Aughnacloy, general manager Paul Duffy tells Ulster Grocer

Daly’s Supervalu, Aughnacloy

Daly's Supervalu, Aughnacloy

Daly’s Supervalu, Aughnacloy

General manager ,Paul Duffy, Daly's Aughnacloy

Daly’s Supervalu, Aughnacloy

While boasting a population of over 1,000, Aughnacloy is actually the gateway from the west of the Province into Co Monaghan and to the Irish capital itself – only an hour and half drive away.

This single element more than any other drives trade at Daly’s SuperValu, where from weekday opening time, at 6.30am, customers are plentiful. Every time there is a sports match or concert in Dublin, thousands of people from as far away as Donegal flood through Aughnacloy – with coachloads stopping on route for breakfast, coffee, fuel or to use the scrupulously clean on-site toilets.But will the imminent departure of the UK from the EU harm this lucrative trade?

“The busiest period is from opening to 8am when the many people who now travel to both Monaghan and to Dublin for their work mingle with the ‘white van men’ – delivery drivers and contractors on route to jobs – all of whom enjoy our hot food offering,” says Paul Duffy, general manager. “Coffee is a major driver too with a dedicated dual dispense just inside the main door as well as a carefully located convenience section with cold drinks and ready-made snacks and sandwiches to ‘grab and go’. “A very extensive range of newspapers and magazines and twin dedicated

‘fast service’ checkouts are located adjacent; all to allow customers the vital convenience and speed so vital to this trade. “Of course, it doesn’t stop then, rather just pause, as the hot food is in demand all day. “Unusually we keep it open all day and well into the evening, which catches the workers’ return trip.“Obviously the fuel islands with three quads and one single pump are a draw too, as we are in fact the last fuel stop before the border less than a mile away,” says Paul, adding that the ATM also brings in a lot of passing trade as does the in-store post office. “The ATM is available 24/7 of course but, these days, the full range of post office services is on offer as long as the store is open, to 10pm every day. That has to be a plus in such an isolated, rural location.” As for the border and the Brexit discussions, Paul is optimistic. “No matter what happens to the actual border – be it a hard, soft, or somewhere in-between conclusion – people still need to fuel their vehicles, to enjoy hot breakfasts and the convenience of a supermarket ‘symbol group’ store nearby,” he says. “The whole thing is a mystery, so it will be very interesting to see how it plays out internationally – but we are confident that being the ‘last post’ at the extreme edge of the country on the only land border with Europe won’t halt our continued progress.” Patrick Rafferty, the long serving office manager with more than a quarter century at Daly’s – is equally optimistic. “We have seen the Irish punt and sterling and later the euro/sterling vary dramatically in value and still kept busy so I think that, while we are living in interesting times, the business community will adapt to whatever regulations are the result,” he says. “We did it before and we can do it again.”

 

LONG-ESTABLISHED

The large 8,000-square-foot facility at Daly’s has been a part of village life for many years, having originally started out in 1991 as a twin-pump forecourt and small SPAR in the centre of Auchnacloy. In those days Leo Daly, the proprietor, had a small complement of just three staff. Leo had moved into retail from wine and spirits sales. In 2003, and still with Henderson’s SPAR fascia, Leo purchased the current site and looked around for the best deal for a wholesaler, eventually signing up with Musgrave and trading as SuperValu ever since.Today, the store is supermarket sized and employs well over 100 staff, mostly full time, making it a major employer in the area, and certainly dwarfing any other retailer in the area. This year saw a major revamp of the premises with extensive plans for more in the next financial year, with the pumps in particular set for further upgrade. Fridays and Saturdays see a large number of trolley shoppers, estimated to be around a third of all trade and the average basket shop is a healthy £11.50, with value for money paramount. “Thanks to the power of the wholesaler, we are able to offer many bargain prices, at least on a par with the multiples on many items and sometimes better,” says Paul. “Even the extensive range of alcohol on offer in the integral off-sales facility is cost conscious with, for example, weekly offers on quality wines that work out at around £6 a bottle. Chiller cabinets for wines and beers add to the attraction too.“The range of goods is enormous,” he says. “One whole wall is given over to chilled with a 16-bay refrigeration unit to complement the nine frozen cabinets. “There are six check outs – including those intended for fast convenience shoppers such as workers coming through – and we have, unusually, our own butchery counter with two staff on duty at all times. “There’s a large range of pharmacy and healthcare and even the former forecourt basics of car accessories and also some electrical goods, such as kettles.

“Much of that is thanks to our wholesalers at Musgrave, with a daily chilled delivery and two ambient weekly but we also buy local produce and so help provide even more employment in this otherwise rural border area.

CHRISTMAS LOOMS

Christmas is of course the busiest time of year, with Daly’s supplying the full range of turkey with all the trimmings. Even the much-in-demand take-away Sunday dinners that retail for less than £5 are themed for the festive season.

Charity is not forgotten either as Musgrave supports Action Cancer in general, which Daly’s contributes to and also more locally, funds strips for several local teams across the whole community as well as backing events for good causes with either money or goods. Training is very important too as Daly’s ethos is for well trained, knowledgeable staff for everything including Wine & Spirt Education Trust qualifications and the essential food hygiene regulations.

Staff are numerous and knowledgeable in many ways, generally knowing their customers by name; an essential point of difference between this supermarket and multiples’ ‘production line’ selling. Everyone is encouraged to feel part of the team and that seems to work, with many staff having more than 10 years’ service. Some have far more, such as Elaine McCrudden with 30 years’ service and Office Manager Patrick Rafferty who boasts 26 years. “We know our customers and they know us,” says Patrick. “That makes a big difference and, because of that, I am absolutely confident that whatever Brexit throws up, Daly’s will continue to prosper along a border that has now become, even more than before, the focus of international attention.”

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