Friday, 10 October 2014

John R.'s changes to self service in 1965,

Ballybunion yesterday

(photo: Ballybunion Angling and Coastal Views)


Lartigue and Panissiére
Above is a then and now image of Listowel's monorail, The Lartigue.
People who know about these things will know that there was only one other working monorail built and that one was in Pannisiére in France.

A friend recently came across a book of photos of yesteryear in this little French town.

The book had these old photos of the monorail.


A friend was browsing through old newspapers when he came across this interesting piece of social history. There was a time when a shopkeeper took your shopping list and filled it himself from the shelves. He chatted to you, made recommendations and even reminded you if you had forgotten something you usually bought. 
It would appear that John R.'s made the transition to self service in 1965.
Since that date the number of businesses adopting that DIY method is increasing daily. We all know the trials of DIY banking, airport boarding cards and baggage check in and don't talk to me about FAQs. Find the solution to every problem yourself is a mantra for 2014.
Self Service at Walsh’s Listowel 31 July 1965
Edited from the Kerryman

THE OLD-ESTABLISHED firm of J. R. Walsh, Church Street, Listowel are opening today (Friday) as a self-service store. The firm, which was established as a grocery and bar by the late Mr. John R, Walsh, a native of West limerick prospered during his management. The late Mr. Walsh was 69 when he died in 1946 ( passing over the management of the business to his son, Joseph, who took over two years later.
In his younger days the late Mr. J. R. Walsh managed Ballylongford and Newtownsandes creameries. In 1907 he decided to enter into business in Listowel and it was then that he established the present firm, at a time when stout was about 2d. per pint and whiskey about. 3d. per glass  far away from today's prices but of course at that time a £ was a £. By 1919 one ounce of tobacco could be had for 8d. and a bottle of whiskey was 16/- as compared with about £2 today.
The old shop had high wooden counters which were lowered in later years. The bar was compact and always did, a big trade with country people, especially on fair and market days.
The late Mr. Walsh was a colorful figure. He was interned in Ballykinlar, Co. Down for his LR.A. activities. He was a good footballer and an enthusiastic follower of the game and was very interested in athletics. Among his many achievements may be noted the fact that he was a vice-Chairman and a founder member of Listowel Race Company.
There were very few coursing meetings that he did not attend. On the opening night of Ardfert greyhound track he won a race. He was a very popular figure in the town of Listowel .and had a large family.
His son, Joseph, took over management of  the business in 1948, in which year he also married Miss Hannah Pierce from  Ballybunion. They have six children. Joseph is very interested, like 'his, father before him in G.AA. activities  and sport in general.
Mr. Walsh told me, “I keep a few greyhounds at one time I had a big string of  them. I attend the track meetings from time to time. I also attend race meetings in Mallow and  Limerick Junction.
Since 1948 Mr. Walsh has expanded the grocery business until today  the firm, stocks all lines of foodstuffs.
"1 was the first family grocer in Listowel to sell poultry and we do a big bacon business today as well," he said  . Mr. Walsh has for a long time been, contemplating further expansion of his grocery business. "Our grocery trade was getting to the stage," he said, "where we found it difficult to carry on with the available floor space. It was then that I decided to extend the premises considerably. Only last year I decided to convert to self-service." A completely new bar and lounge were built at the rear of the grocery shop. The floor area of the new self-service store is about 500 square feet. The bar and lounge are spacious. 
When Mr. Walsh decided to convert his original shop to self-service he also decided to join Mace, a national organisation with some 5,000 retail members in Great Britain and Ireland. It is the biggest buying group in Great Britain and Ireland. The grocer who joins Mace continues to remain independent and continues to own his shop, but he can also call on his Mace wholesaler for expert advice on shop planning  and  layout. Messrs Punch and Co, Ltd, Cork, operate Mace in the Munster area.
Mr. Walsh's original shop offered counter service and, as I have said, had a bar adjoining the premises. He called on the Mace shop consultant and together they designed a very efficient self-service store. The grocery department is tastefully laid out with a simple but effective colour scheme.
The grocery section has a white ceiling. Over the wall shelving the colour is midnight blue, while the check-out counter, a Formica top is in hydrangea blue. Over the bacon counter at the rear the wall is tiled 
Mace is the biggest independent buying force in Great Britain and Ireland. In 1959, nineteen wholesalers joined together to form a voluntary group. Since then seven further wholesalers have joined them. The buying power and strength of these twenty-six wholesalers is considerably greater than that of those in any other national group. Together, they constitute a unique and powerful force in the wholesale grocery field. More than 5,000 independent grocers in Great Britain and Ireland, have already joined together under the Mace sign. These grocers remain independent and continue to own their own shops, but they gain the benefits of special terms. They can thus trade on a competitive  basis with  the multiple or chain-store.
An important adjunct to the new self-service store in Church  Street are the new bar and  lounge, which have a separate  entrance from the street.
There is a good entrance lobby to both lounge and bar. This Lounge has comfortable built-in seating on three walls.
 The Ladies' toilet accommodation has a wash basin, dressing table, mirror and is finished in an attractive pale pink. The main bar is approximately 12 by 24 feet in size. The bar obtains its daylight through a perspex roof light and large end window.

This difficult conversion was carried out by Mr. Thomas O'Gormam building contractor, Asdee, Ballybunion.


Michael Kennelly R.I.P.

The late Michael Kennelly, travel agent and scoutmaster travelled widely. He was responsible for many a Listowel boy seeing parts of the world, and parts of Ireland as well that he otherwise would never have had the opportunity to visit.

The above picture shows Michael with some local boys in Bale, Switzerland in 1952.

John Kennelly has very kindly shared some of Michael's photographs with us and I will be bringing them to you over the course of the next week. If anyone reading this has any memories of scouting trips or of Michael's famous pilgrimages to Knock, Lourdes or Lough Derg we'd love to hear them.

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