It will surprise many Bulletin readers to discover that Vincent’s / SVP Charity shops, with over 220 locations, are the 3rd biggest network of shops in Ireland. Local members across Ireland have done a great job at opening and maintaining some fantastic clothing and furniture shops in every county in Ireland, except Roscommon, but National Retail Development Manager, Dermot McGilloway, believes that there are further opportunities for growth both at the heart of our local communities and online.
McGilloway believes that SVP charity shops are quite unique in that they promote friendship, social justice, self-sufficiency, Vincentian ethos and a great value and stimulating shopping experience for the whole community which can be found as easily in our smallest villages as well as in our regional towns and cities. McGilloway, a Derry native, states “The importance of a great community charity shop cannot be underestimated in our rural communities but equally we must ensure that our bigger cities like Dublin, Belfast, Limerick, Derry, Galway and Waterford are properly served. Loneliness and isolation, exacerbated by poverty, does not discriminate between people who live in rural communities like Gweedore in North West Donegal or urban locations like Galliagh in Derry, we must cater for both types of communities through our national network of shops”.
As an extension of this approach, the national retail team has now identified a number of very attractive retail units, with good parking and vehicle access, at the heart of residential areas in our bigger towns and cities.
McGilloway adds “Our shops offer an exciting range of products and services including great labels, unbeatable value, vintage and collectables, promotions, customer appreciation events and family days to ensure that members of the public, regardless of their circumstances or background, can find a Vincent’s charity shop on their doorstep. We have recently opened new shops in Roxboro Shopping Centre, Southhill, Limerick, Dairy Farm Shopping Centre, Stewartstown Road, Belfast and Castletown Road in Dundalk”. McGilloway adds that other retail teams like Carrigtwohill in Cork are relocating into much bigger and better premises to ensure satisfied customer in limerick Regional Retail Manager for North Region, Anne Crossan states “The local Community in West Belfast have welcomed our new shop with open arms and affectionately refer to Vincent’s as “our wee shop”. Anne adds “Whether it’s outstanding value or a treasure hunt that you are after, our shop, located beside the Doctor’s surgery, the library, the Credit Union and the Post Office in Dairy Farm Shopping Centre is becoming a firm favourite with the locals who already frequent the existing shop in Turf Lodge.”
Peter Johnson, Regional Retail Manager for North East and Midlands echoes these sentiments and confirms that their new shop at 125a Castletown Road in Dundalk is reaching a whole new customer base. Peter adds “We already have a fantastically committed team including over 20 volunteers and Community employment staff delivering great service to this part of Dundalk. We intend to run customer appreciation events in store on a regular basis, provide a great range of products, a monthly raffle, refreshments, entertainment and a bit of craic and the shop has just launched a Coffee morning on the first Tuesday of every month”. This new shop has been so well received that the Region will open another new community shop very soon serving Blackcastle in Navan.
National Retail Development Manager, Dermot McGilloway, returns to the topic of exclusion in Irish society and feels that the Vincent’s charity shops, firmly rooted in Vincentian ethos and values, with their fantastic programme of events, bright and cheerful décor and cheerful rainbow logo and close proximity to so many local communities make great ambassadors for SVP in Ireland today.
Whilst welcoming this necessary expansion of Vincent’s charity shops into our housing estates and residential areas, McGilloway predicts that the next generation of consumer is also demanding access to our products and services through social media and online. McGilloway estimates that €98 million was spent online in Ireland during the Black Friday shopping weekend in November 2017 and feels that Vincents must cater for people who like to shop from their mobile device.
McGilloway states “Our new generation of charity shops are already enriching the local community in places like West Belfast and Limerick but we must also cater for customers, donors and volunteers who identify with and participate in Ireland’s online community. Our team in East Region has launched our first dedicated Vincent’s eBay page and it is hoped that we will have a national presence before too much longer”
The link for the page is http://stores.ebay.ie/vincents.
McGilloway adds “The Society of St Vincent De Paul has been loyally serving the people of Ireland since 1844; our retail team is committed to developing a range of products and services that both our local and online community can identify with and support. We want our customers, donors, volunteers and members to identify Vincent’s as the first choice in charity retail for this generation and the next”.