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Image / Style / Shopping / Irish Design

‘Adopt a Shop’ and start your Christmas shopping now to support Irish shops


by IMAGE
23rd Oct 2020

Local businesses everywhere are urging people to start gift-shopping early to keep them afloat during a winter of restrictions, writes Fiona Lee


The ‘Adopt a Shop’ movement is simple; individuals supporting local, independent businesses to prevent them from closing due to the financial strains of Covid-19.

The movement seems to have been picked up in Ireland by Tim Carey, historian and author, when he shared on Twitter that he was going to support three businesses in Dublin that added to his life in the capital city. He added the hashtag #adoptashop, and the movement was born.

How can you get involved?

Simply pick a few businesses that are near and dear to your heart and make conscious efforts to frequently support them through this pandemic. Buy a coffee from the café down the road before work, order takeaway dinner from a restaurant every Saturday night, or buy your next read from your favourite book shop. Little actions can make a big difference in keeping our most beloved independent stores open during these difficult times.

Mara Gedrovica from The Secret Garden, a small independent café in Galway City, thinks it’s a wonderful idea and encourages us all to take part.

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“I love the idea of #adoptashop! It is a way of supporting that will never go unnoticed. There are a good few customers of ours who have adopted us already by supporting us online. We love each and every one of them!

“There are many ways of supporting a small, local business. First of all, shop local. Especially coming into the Christmas season. There are ways of supporting even if you are not buying anything, by sharing posts of your favourite local businesses on social media or introducing a friend to your favourite shop whilst walking around the town.”

During the first lockdown, The Secret Garden faced the same fears as all business owners.

“We miss the live events and board game nights which were so loved and made our shop so lively and busy. It had a special ‘Galway flavour’ of community, a love of being together. We miss the hugs and kisses when greeting our regular customers!

“We keep in touch with our international customers, who have unfortunately left Ireland, online and we have created an online shop, so everyone who misses their favourite tea can get it even if they can’t make it here in person”.

John Haybyrne from Jam Art Factory, an Irish art and design shop in Dublin with locations in Temple Bar and Patrick Street, has adored the appreciation and support they have received from their customers in the last few months.

“We have been overwhelmed with the goodwill shown towards us from customers, home and abroad. During lockdown, the shops are closed but we were still receiving online orders on the site, and we are so appreciative of the support.

“It is so nice, and sometimes emotional, to see some of the messages people included in gifts for other people. One included a note saying ‘Can’t wait to go for our weekly coffees and cake again Nan’ with one of our prints of Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street.”

John supports the idea of #adoptashop and hopes people prioritise local shops this Christmas.

“I think the #adoptashop campaign is a great idea! It’s so nice to see that it was a customer that came up with the idea. Just one customer thinking of you means so much.

“It would be a great help to us and other Irish businesses if everyone started doing their holiday shopping now. We won’t be able to have queues in our stores in December and delivery companies won’t be able to cope with online orders.

“If the Irish people come together and try to buy local this Christmas, it will save so many jobs and help so many Irish families. So many people come into our shop to have a chat and a browse, not just buy, you can’t get that human interaction buying off Amazon”.

Jackie Keating, co-owner of Gotham Café on Anne St in Dublin, had a wonderful summer, but the restaurant is being forced to shut again due to the second lockdown.

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“It’s been a tough year. We had a great summer, our neighbour, Kehoe’s Pub, allowed us to use their outdoor space in addition to our own so we had a nice terrace. Cocktails were our top sellers as customers were celebrating being able to go out again.

“Gotham Café is closed again, but we will be back. Meanwhile, we are doing takeaway and delivery in Gotham South, our restaurant in Stillorgan. You can find us on justeat.ie!”

The smallest of actions help. You need not devote yourself to spending a fortune. Giving these businesses your support will not only keep their virtual doors open, but it will give us all the joy of being a small but good part of somebody else’s day.

Bring out your festive cheer by focusing on something that matters this year.

In a nutshell, shop local.

Main photo: @jam_art_factory

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