Put out of business – in slow time.

Chain stores and supermarkets are putting an end to small businesses everywhere; it is just that it takes a little longer in a place like Westport, County Mayo.  There, Shanley’s drapery, a business that’s been in the town for ninety-nine years, and which has been run by three generations of the same family, will close its doors for the very last time at the end of this week.

The present owner of the shop on Bridge Street, Peter Shanley, who is taking retirement, puts the shop’s closure down to the arrival of chain stores to Westport; this, and the fact that the kind of overhaul the premises needed could not be justified in business terms.Manager Cecil Horkin, who worked for Peter’s parents and subsequently for Peter himself, is taking retirement after fifty years of service.

I did hear Peter Shanley say in a radio interview (RTE Radio 1) that he had lots of old ledgers and such like in the shop. I do hope that someone has the foresight or presence of mind to preserve these for posterity. They probably tell a small, but not necessarily insignificant, part of that small town’s story.

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