O Mahonys Booksellers – Pictured above are Colette Cotter, Manager of O’Mahonys, Cllr Daniel Butler, Mayor of Limerick City and County and Richard Lynch, I Love Limerick. Picture: Farhan Saaed/ilovelimerick
Look For Local – Shop books at O’Mahony’s Booksellers
By I Love Limerick correspondent Rachel Petticrew
A new campaign run by I Love Limerick in conjunction with LEO Limerick and Daniel Butler, Mayor of Limerick City and County, asks Limerick consumers to look for local when shopping for products, services and experiences.
O Mahonys Booksellers is a family business in Limerick City, spanning three generations and in business a staggering 119 years.
J.P. O’Mahony opened a bookstore at 120 O’ Connell St. back in 1902, using the skills he had gained as a manager of the iconic Cannock’s haberdashery department. Upon opening, the bookshop was only 550 square feet.
O Mahonys Booksellers survived two world wars before making the first of three expansions in 1960. Digging downwards into the basement, second-generation owner F.E. O’Mahony created a store to serve the expanding schoolbooks business.
Throughout the 1990s, third-generation brothers David and Frank O’Mahony undertook major extension works at number 120, creating the magnificent O’Mahonys store we know and love today.
General Manager Collette Cotter has been working at O’Mahony’s for 24 years. Colette tells I Love Limerick why O’Mahonys is unique to other bookstores.
“What a lot of people don’t realise is that within this building there are lots of individual businesses. We run a library business that supplies all the public libraries in the country. We have an online shop which is operated from the store. In the basement, we run a schoolbook business and we also supply books to education training boards all over the country.
“We of course have the bookstore, ages 0-99, so that’s everything from baby books to school books, college books and books for pleasure. In recent years we have also expanded our range of stationery, cards, games and journals.”
Like all city-centre businesses, O’Mahony’s felt the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the business believes the sheer size of its store is a comfort to shoppers in terms of social distancing.
“We’re fortunate in that we have a very big shop, it’s 10,000 square metres,” tells Collette.
Mayor @DanielButlerFG visits @OMahonysBooks on O'Connell Street, spanning three generations and in business a staggering 119 years. @leo_limerick @Limerick_ie @LimerickChamber #LookforLocalLimerick #LookforLocal #ShopLimerick #limerick #limerickedgeembrace #limerickcity pic.twitter.com/ncFoZJK3mm
— #LimerickandProud (@ilovelimerick) September 21, 2021
“If people are nervous about being in close contact with others, they can come in and shop in comfort. We also have a strict sanitary schedule, so it’s a very safe environment for people.”
O’Mahony’s has recently revamped its website for those who prefer to shop online, but also want to support local businesses.
“If shoppers are unable to come in, we have our website which is really easy to use. It’s mobile-friendly and accepts PayPal. We also do mail orders,” adds Collette.
The company prides itself in allowing passionate employees to grow within the business.
“We have a great team, they like working here,” says Collette.
“We do everything in house. For example, our receptionist is also our social media coordinator. Our staff come on board and they get fully immersed in the company. Working at O’Mahony’s gives people great opportunities to do things they wouldn’t get to do in a bigger company.”
Colette enjoys the challenges and rewards that each day brings in an ever-growing family business.
“My favourite thing about the store is the variety of products that we carry,” she said.
“No two days are ever the same, we get new books delivered every day and we never know what to expect. We could get twenty boxes of books or 100 boxes. It’s great to have that flexibility, and it’s very rewarding to see when something sells.”
Mayor of Limerick city and county, Cllr Daniel Butler said; “As all our businesses reopen it’s more important than ever to support the small businesses in your community. I’m asking Limerick people to Look for Local whether you’re thinking of buying treats or gifts, food, going on a day out or using a service. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our cities, towns and villages, providing vital economic activity and employment opportunities. These are the same businesses that local sports clubs and community groups go to each year when we are looking for prizes and sponsorship every year. By Looking for Local we can all support jobs in our community.”
You can browse O’Mahony’s vast collection of all things books in-store at 120 O’Connell St, Limerick City, or online HERE
For more Look for Local stories go HERE
#LookforLocalLimerick #LookforLocal #ShopLimerick
About LEO Limerick
Limerick Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is a first stop shop to provide support and services to help start, grow and develop micro and small businesses. LEO Limerick offers a range of support for local businesses including training, trading online vouchers, financial support, mentoring and business advice. Limerick LEO provides a range of services directly to the small and microenterprise sector as well as helping to create a beneficial environment in which the sector can flourish. For more info go HERE