‘You go in for your tea towels and come out with a wheelbarrow’: Guineys marks 50 years in business

‘You go in for your tea towels and come out with a wheelbarrow’: Guineys marks 50 years in business

Guineys is celebrating 50 years in business. Pictured is Pat Martin, store manager at the Oliver Plunkett Street branch with some of the staff. Picture: Larry Cummins

The “Aladdin’s Cave” that is Guineys celebrates 50 years in business today.

Guineys, which operates 12 stores nationally including one in Cork, was founded by Limerick native Michael Guiney in 1971.

The well-known store on Oliver Plunkett Street was founded in 1992 and has since established itself as a Cork institution.

Speaking to The Echo manager at the Cork store Pat Martin said he would attribute Guineys longevity in business to “more value, more choice, more service”.

“Guineys has a very loyal customer base. It’s well known to be an Aladdin’s cave - you go in for your tea towels and come out with a wheelbarrow!

“It’s a shop where everybody’s budget is catered for - you can buy curtains from €7 up to €230.” 

While all departments are doing good business, Mr Martin said curtains and household items tend to be one of their best performers.

Guineys is celebrating 50 years in business. Pictured is Pat Martin, store manager at the Oliver Plunkett Street branch. Picture: Larry Cummins
Guineys is celebrating 50 years in business. Pictured is Pat Martin, store manager at the Oliver Plunkett Street branch. Picture: Larry Cummins

“Curtains and household are massive for us – they’d be our specialty really.” 

Mr Martin said the support from customers since retail was permitted to reopen in May has been incredible and said it has been heartwarming to see their regulars once again.

“The support and loyalty from the Cork people has been unbelievable, it really has.

“We have all walks of life coming in. We have one man who comes in every day just for a chat.

“He brings the staff in a Christmas card every year.” 

Mr Martin said that some of the staff members in Cork have been with the company since the store opened almost three decades ago.

“We have staff here nearly 30 years since day dot.

“I only joined the company three years ago and they’re the best company I ever worked for.” 

Michael Guiney started his retail career as a sales assistant in Clerys, working for his uncle, at the age of 19.

After a few years, he was promoted to buyer of household and furnishings.

He left Clerys in 1971 to go solo.

Guineys was solely Dublin-based from 1971 until 1992, when the Cork store was established. 

In the years that followed other stores opened, including in Limerick, Waterford, Clonmel and Belfast and the company also set up an online store.

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