Gold standard – Commitment to customers drives Co-Op Carrigaline success

Dairygold is an organisation rooted in tradition but that doesn’t stop it embracing the latest retailing practices and concepts when it comes to its Co-Op SuperStores outlets

Eamon Kelleher, Store Manager, Co-Op Superstores, Carrigaline, Co. Cork
Eamon Kelleher, Store Manager, Co-Op Superstores, Carrigaline, Co. Cork

Dairygold Co-Op SuperStores Carrigaline store serves a broad customer base

in Carrigaline itself, in the surrounding localities which include Douglas, Rochestown, Crosshaven, Myrtleville and also Cork City. The store has something for everyone in the community. From Stoves and Coal to Lawnmowers and Electrical Appliances, they have become a destination for all things Farm, Home and Garden. Eamon Kelleher, Store Manager, spoke to The Hardware Journal about the store’s enduring relationship with its customers and how it holds on to, and grows, its diverse customer base. Eamon says that key to the stores success is the diverse range of customers spanning both urban and rural including farmers, builders, tradesmen, DIYers, gardeners and home owners. Of course, a big part of the Carrigaline store’s identity is based on its Co-Op heritage and it retains a close relationship with its farmer customers, the majority of which are known on a first name basis. There is a strong bond with local farming families, Eamon says. “It’s a connection with customers that goes back generations. These families grandparents and great grandparents have also been loyal customers. We have a detailed understanding of these customers’ needs and strive to always fulfil their seasonal requirements.

Broad appeal

While traditionally rooted in farming, Co-Op SuperStores Carrigaline now caters for the whole community. The beautifully laid out store carries a comprehensive range of DIY including top brand power tools and hand tools, paint, electrical, stoves, solid fuel, home furnishings, workwear and petcare as well as a 4,000 sq. ft. fully covered garden centre. The store constantly seeks to grab customer attention and very much understand the ever changing needs of customers.

They have two big sales during the year which they have become synonymous with, their Spring and Autumn sales. The Carrigaline store recently held its annual Spring launch with Cork’s RED FM broadcasting live from the store. According to Eamon: “The Spring range was showcased on the day and we had some terrific one-day only offers, a lot of our suppliers attended and demonstrated the more technical products such as power washers and lawnmowers and Ronseal showed customers how to revamp a shed or patio set with their stunning 2017 range of garden colours.

“Our garden centre is very much the realm of our horticulturist, Jason Fitzpatrick. Jason takes great pride in offering customers a top

Co-op Superstore Carrigaline garden centre
All the flowers and plants in the Co-Op Superstore’s fully covered garden centre are sources in Ireland

quality range of Irish-grown plants and now more than ever customers really appreciate expert advice when investing in their gardens. From railway sleepers and paving slabs to colourful plants, pots and compost, the garden centre offers everything a customer might need to re-vamp their garden.”

 

Recovery takes hold

Eamon notes: “Last year was a tough year for our farmer customer as the milk price was at its lowest for a long time and spending was certainly down but we continued to focus on what our customer is looking for – quality, reputable brands and value for money. We kept our eye to the small opportunities as they came along, having a positive approach to challenges as they arose.

“A good example of this is the introduction of the smoky fuel ban. Fuel is a huge part of our business here in Carrigaline so it certainly affected us but we embraced the challenges early on. We broadened the spectrum of smokeless fuel that we offered and we offered customers expert advice on smokeless fuels as well as free samples to try and what we thought was a risk turned out to be a massive opportunity.”

THE DAIRYGOLD STORE NETWORK

Co-Op SuperStores are the retail division of Dairygold Co-Operative Society Ltd which now operates 39 retail stores across Munster stretching across counties Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Clare. In addition to being Munster’s largest supplier of farm inputs, the stores offer an extensive range of building supplies, DIY, paint, fuel, electrical, household, garden, petcare and workwear.

Agri-sales advisors based within the stores offer technical support and advice to farmers from all areas of agriculture, including dairy, drystock and tillage. The stores’ retail staff work in conjunction with field sales teams to handle technical queries and quotations.

POSITIVE RESULTS
Limerick man Eamon Kelleher studied business at the Institute of Technology Tralee, going on to work with two iconic names in Irish business, initially working with Super Valu and the Garvey group, before joining Dairygold 12 years ago. “It’s great to work with a brand name as well recognised as Dairygold and to see the positive results of their commitment to the locality and the region. One of the aspects of the Co-Op SuperStore that gives me the most satisfaction is our commitment to stocking as much Irish-sourced product as possible.”

IN-STORE SERVICES AT CARRIGALINE
Eamon believes that added value services are important in winning and holding on to customers. Co-Op SuperStores offers a wide range of such services including:

Full Covered Garden Centre
Instore Horticulturist
Dedicated Agri Counter
Agri Experts
Paint Expert
Paint Mixing
Stove Expert
Building Expert
Drive-Through Fuel Service
Credit Facility
Loyalty Bonus Scheme
Delivery Service