Twenty-nine years after it first opened its doors to give the people of Westport a then state-of-the-art supermarket, O’Connors SuperValu on Shop Street was relaunched last Thursday morning, following its most significant makeover in three decades.
With an expanded product range, emphasis on fresh food, quality produce and exceptional value, the new store is not only the most modern SuperValu in Ireland, but the most state-of-the-art grocery retail space in Connacht, if not the entire country.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Mr Noel Kavanagh, Managing Director of the Kavanagh Group, which is the largest independent retailing operation in Ireland – owning and operating 16 stores in the west and north west of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK – explained that Westport remains the flagship store in his company, and that this radical overhaul was undertaken, to bring into account the needs of customers in an ever-changing retail landscape.
Central among the new concepts of this €500,000 revamp is a large open section, running the length of the store, which incorporates a plethora of fresh products, from freshly-baked breads, fruit and vegetables, world cheeses, a comprehensive delicatessen, a fresh pizza counter, a large fishmongers, including the best of shellfish from Atlantic waters, and of course the meat counter, where the friendly local faces customers have come to trust over the years are busy preparing and serving the finest of Irish meat.
With an entirely new look, bright space and large local scenes adorning the walls, this radically improved section of the store is destined to be a template for other shop improvements across Ireland. Between O’Cees Coffee Shop and Restaurant, Mulloy’s Hardware and the new-look store and off-licence, which was also revamped, there is in excess of 20,000 square feet of retail space under one roof at O’Connors of Westport. The work incorporated new energy efficient lighting, heating and refrigeration systems.
“This was done to enhance the customer experience,” said Noel Kavanagh. “The shop is easier to manoeuvre and more spacious, as we removed an aisle and the island of open top freezers, and lengthened the other aisles to find the extra space. There is a strong emphasis on our own ‘Prepared by Butcher’ range, our fishmonger is very strong in terms of quality, variety and value, there is a new emphasis on the ‘Free From’ range of foods, which incorporates not only organic foods, but also gluten free foods in the new coeliac range. We now cater for all dietary requirements, and in a new departure for our Westport store have launched one of the most modern on-line shopping experience in Ireland, so customers can now shop 24/7 from the comfort of their own homes. Of course we also continue to offer home delivery and have 180 dedicated car parking spaces at the rear of the store.”
As part of the Kavanagh Group, O’Connors of Westport is a family owned store, which supports dozens of local sporting clubs, charities and other initiatives and organisations. Chief among these are Tidy Towns and Westport GAA club. The Kavanagh Group employs in excess of 1100 people, and with a policy of promoting from within, many of those who began their working lives in part-time roles on the shop floor in Westport, are now in senior management positions, both within the company, and elsewhere.
In an added boost for the local economy, and in keeping with a well-established ethos, the new store is teeming with local produce, which is not only an important link with the community, but sustains employment in Westport and guarantees quality and freshness for customers. The transformation of the store was undertaken in six weeks, led by Peter and Gerard Corcoran of PPG Construction from Westport.
“I’d like to thank all our contractors and those who worked on the job,” added Mr Kavanagh. “There was no closure necessary and most of the work was done at night time. PPG did a professional, expert and dedicated job, and I would like to thank them for that, and also all the other contractors who played their part, in particular Michael Moran of Moran Electrical and his team. From our own end, Mark Kavanagh immersed himself in this redesign, which required a lot of research trips, and he did a wonderful job, as did our Store Manager, Liam Campion, who was here every step of the way on the job”.
“This is a vote of confidence in Westport and the 170 people we employ here, and I’d like to extend an invitation to everybody to come and experience our new store, and our emphasis on quality, freshness and value, for themselves,” added Noel Kavanagh.
The Mayo News