Gretta Gibbs is part of Limerick’s retail history. Pictured above are Paul Fitzgerald, son of the late Gretta Coughlan Fitzgerald, Lillian Coughlan Gibbs and Veronica Coughlan Benn pictured at Gretta Gibbs celebrating their 35th anniversary. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick.
Happy 35th anniversary to Gretta Gibbs. It was one of the first stores in Limerick that catered to all size of women from size 8 to 24 and is a family run business. We encourages you to support your own and Shop Local this Christmas! #shoplocallimerick #lovelimerick #shoplocal pic.twitter.com/VASCZxajo8
— #LimerickTilliDie (@ilovelimerick) November 12, 2020
WATCH Gretta Gibbs celebrates 35 years of being the boutique of Limerick Ladies
By I Love Limerick correspondent Mary Caroline McCarthy
Walking into Gretta Gibbs you can tell from the friendly welcome you receive that this is a store that cares about their customers and how they feel. Gretta Gibbs was established in Limerick City on November 29, 1985 by three sisters, Gretta Coughlan Fitzgerald, Veronica Coughlan Benn, and Lillian Coughlan Gibbs.
I am a sister myself and when I expressed disbelief at the thought of going into business with my own sister Veronica was quick to assure us that it had been one of the best things in their life, saying, “We have worked together for the past thirty-five year, three sisters, always working together. We loved every moment of it.”
“Our favourite part of the last thirty-five years has been being able to work together. It has been the highlight of our life,” Lillian added.
Gretta Gibbs has been the ultimate shopping destination since it first opened, providing fun styles and funky fashion for all. The idea of the store began with a love of fashion between three sisters and has since blossomed into a successful business.
Gretta Gibbs was originally opened on 4 Bedford Row in 1985, and in 2006 was moved to where it still lies now at 16 Catherine Street. Gretta Gibbs was one of the first stores in Limerick that catered to all sizes of women from size 8 to 24, if you have needed clothes in the past 35 years Gretta Gibbs was the go to place.
“One of our best moments has been the move from Bedford Road to Catherine Street, it has been amazing. We were in Bedford for 21 years before moving here in 2006, it was a massive change, but it has really been worth it,” Veronica said.
The three sisters began their shop with the idea that fashion was for everyone, no matter what size you were you could wear beautiful clothes and they continue to stand by that same idea today. Nobody should feel excluded when it comes to fashion as it was something that brought the three sisters together and that has continually brought the women of Limerick to Gretta Gibbs’s door for the past thirty-five years.
Lillian reminisced of the many customers they had helped over the course of their business, telling us, “We are driven by the love we have for fashion and our customers. We love transforming our customers and they love it too; we have a great time with our customers, and we love to see them so happy in the clothes we provide.”
Of course, the past thirty-five years haven’t all been great. In November 2014, Gretta Coughlan Fitzgerald had a fatal accident in her home leaving a hole in the community of Limerick. Her sisters, husband, and children were devastated by the tragic accident, but Veronica and Lillian have continued to keep the store open in Gretta’s honour.
“It was one of the hardest moments when our darling sister Gretta was taken from us so young. We miss her every day,” Lillian said sadly.
Since the loss of their sister Lillian and Veronica have continued to work in Gretta Gibbs and provide brilliant fashion to the women of Limerick, through tough times and through some of the best times of their lives and careers.
However this year they have hit a large speed bump as Covid-19 continues to ravage the country. In March, Gretta Gibbs had to close its doors like many other companies in the area. Closing their doors for so long can be crippling to a small business that doesn’t have a large online presence and so the store has suffered greatly. However, both Veronica and Lillian are hopeful that their customers will come back to visit them when they reopen in December after the second lock down has been lifted.
“Covid has affected us massively. We have been closed since March and we only sell things online from our Instagram and Facebook pages. It has been difficult, but we just can’t wait for the next thirty-five years where we can continue to provide all kinds of fashion for the women of Limerick. We just want to thank everyone who has supported us over the years and hopes to see them in our store again soon.”
Thirty-five years is a long time to keep a business open and the Coughlan sisters have managed to do this together. We at I Love Limerick look forward to their next thirty-five years of providing fashion to the women of Limerick and wish them well.
Congratulations to Gretta Gibbs on thirty-five years of sales!
To order from Gretta Gibbs find them on their Facebook and Instagram @grettagibbs
For more about Gretta Gibbs, go HERE
For more fashion stories, go HERE