TWO memorable days stand out for Ed Broderick, who owns Broderick’s shop and petrol station in Shanagarry, East Cork. The first was last summer.
“During the heatwave in July, we were tearing busy,” says Ed, who took over the business, which also houses the local post office, from his parents, Eddie and Kitty, in 2017.
“There were queues out the door.”
No wonder. The deli inside the shop offers freshly made rolls, scrumptious scones, tempting brownies and delicious hot chickens from East Ferry and the Chicken Inn for Sunday lunch. The shop shelves store fresh goods for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including handy ready-made meals from well-known local chef Kevin Aherne of Sage.
“Local woman, Mary O Connell, supplies the home-made jams,” says Ed, who is the latest shopkeeper to feature in our Cork's Corner Shops series.
And the floury potatoes?
“They come from John Kenefick, of Maytown, our main supplier. The fresh vegetables are supplied by local man Willie Scannell.”
Ed had to double-job as a traffic warden when temperatures soared this summer.
“I had to stand out on the road to stop the traffic so that the cars could come out of the car park out front,” says Ed.
“July 14 was the busiest day of the year this year; the temperatures were in the high 20s. Everybody was heading to the seaside.”
Ed recalls another day in November, 1995, when movie stars rolled into town. But the film they were making, Divine Rapture, starring Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Debra Winger, was never completed and never saw the big screen.
“My first real memory was when movie star Johnny Depp called into the shop for a bottle of Cidona,” says Ed. “He was accompanied by his chauffeur Greg Frogate who was hired to drive Johnny around. In five minutes flat the shop was mobbed with youngsters; Johnny Depp ran out and Greg was left doing the shopping!”
There were others involved in Divine Rapture who enjoyed hanging out with the locals.
“Lee Electrical company were looking after the lighting for the film set in Ballycotton,” says Ed, who is married to Hazel. The couple have two sons, Dean, aged 24, who works full-time in the shop, and Ryan, aged 22.
“The lighting crew were over from the UK and I remember they had huge trucks. The lads were very friendly and they used to call in and bring us over to Lynch’s, the Inn by the Harbour, for drinks at night.”
The Brodericks met other celebrities who shopped local.
“Angela Lansbury often called in when she was here on holidays,” says Ed.
“Gabriel Byrne called in once or twice, he liked to keep a low profile but he’d always say ‘hello’.”
So nobody mobbed the shop then?
“Nobody recognised him!” says Ed laughing.
The late Gay Byrne dropped in when he was holidaying in East Cork too.
“Yes, he was staying just down the road,” says Ed.
Students from Ballymaloe Cookery School frequent the shop regularly.
“They are good customers all year round,” says Ed.
“Mike Murphy came in one day, I think his son did the 12 week Ballymaloe Cookery course. All our locals to this day are very loyal.”
Broderick’s value all their customers from near and far.
“And of course we have the holidaymakers who have mobile homes nearby, we love to see the familiar families who come on holidays here over the years,” says Ed.
“They are great supporters of the shop and we got to know many of them.”
Familar faces are par for the course.
“Dad still drops by to see how things are going,” says Ed. “He often does a bit of grass cutting. As for mam, she’s always on the road!”
Broderick’s, which is located at a busy vantage point in Shanagarry village, was owned by the Crotty family back in the 1960s. Andy Crotty had two petrol pumps and a shop. Eddie and Kitty Broderick took over the shop in 1990, Eddie worked in Lee Garage, Midleton, at the time.
“Mam ran the shop with the help of my sister, Catherine, and a local girl, Mary Walsh. We all helped out during school holidays, myself, my brother John, and Catherine. My dad gave up working in the garage two years later to help run the shop. We sold general groceries and some fuel.”
Ed Jnr liked the shop business from an early age.
“I left school at 15,” says Ed.
“I came to work here and I earned 50 pounds a week. That was huge money! That was in the early 1990s; there were no big supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi back then.”
Ed slotted in nicely behind the shop counter.
“I loved it from the start,” says Ed. “We had a regular trade serving local people and the passing trade was always busy. Sunday mass was huge and we’d be up the walls after mass. It took an hour to get through all the people after mass. Getting the Sunday papers was a big thing. We sell The Echo which sells well and we stock the Holly Bough every year.”
The shop branched out.
“My dad started delivering coal locally with a car and a trailer. He had left the garage in 1993, he built up the coal business from there, he bought a truck and we’d load the coal by hand.”
Things evolved over the years.
“Now we deliver coal as far as Killeagh and Ballinacurra.”
Ed met his wife, Hazel, through the shop.
“Hazel was working in Stephen Pearce Pottery and she used to come in and out to the shop,” says Ed. “One day I asked her out”.
Hazel, like Ed, liked the shop too.
“She came to work here part-time when she wasn’t working in the pottery. Now she helps out in the post office a couple of days a week. Diarmuid does the other days.”
Broderick’s house, as well as the shop, extended over the years.
“It was a small house to start with,” explains Ed. “In ’93-’94 we built on an extension and we built on the forecourt in 1995.
“In 2000, we did the shop extension and opened the deli. We focused on the deli a lot and it has worked out very well. We always sold wine and a year ago we acquired a licence for a full off-licence.”
Broderick’s was sought after, with offers from retail groups - but they decided to stay independent. Now there are new plans afoot to extend the business.
“We have full planning for a two-storey building that will serve as a staff room and for storage. We’e looking forward to having a sit- down area for our customers and we’re extending the forecourt out front.”
Broderick’s staff are popular.
“The feedback we get about our staff is very positive,” says Ed. “People comment on how polite and friendly they are. We employ 18, 11 of whom are full-time.”
Is the next generation going to take over Broderick’s eventually?
“My son Dean and my nephew David, are showing interest,” says Ed.
For now, he is happy with how his business is going.
“I loved it from the start,” says Ed. “It comes very naturally to me. I grew up here and I like a challenge.
“We all work hard but it is a nice living. You get out of it what you put in.”
See the full series see here: ‘Cork’s Corner Shops’.