By Eoin Kelleher
A ‘SHOP local’ campaign is kicking off in Templemore this month with a view to boosting visitor numbers to the town. However, a promotional draw which forms part of the campaign is being held too early and should be deferred to just before Christmas, according to some Town Councillors.
A meeting between the Councillors and the Traders was scheduled to take place on Tuesday night last week, to discuss the timing of the campaign. Some Councillors pointed out that the draw date should be extended to just before Christmas, so as to maximise spending in Templemore.
Cllr Jim O’Shea said several people had come to him, asking that the draw be deferred. Cllr Mick Connell said the Traders had decided when the draw should be held before any of the Councillors met with them. “It should have been negotiated with them about the time of the draw.” Cllr O’Shea said the shopping vouchers involved can only be used in Templemore.
Cllr Michael Ryan said he would adopt a “positive approach, but I firmly believe the draw is too early, because you will sending people out of town.” The idea was to keep people in Templemore. Cllr Ryan also pointed out that petrol prices in Templemore are higher than surrounding towns. “They’re 4 cent dearer.” There is a temptation to shop in Thurles or Roscrea instead. “I don’t know anything about the petrol business. Why are the prices so high?”
Cllr Valerie Young told Cllr Ryan that the fuel suppliers in Templemore are small family run businesses, which have to compete with the likes of Topaz. The larger companies can “squeeze the small retailers until they have it all to themselves.” The smaller businesses are not “cleaning up on fuel,” added Cllr Young. Cllr Marcus Wilson said it was very important for the Council and the Traders to work “hand in hand”. “It’s the first time we really got together on a firm footing. I think the draw should be later, yet the Traders say to have it earlier. They should know what impact it will have on them.”
Cllr Mick Connell said he had supplied market research to the Traders, “but they chose to ignore that.” The Traders are not “absolute amateurs,” said Cllr Wilson. Cllr Lily O’Brien said the draw was too early. Cllr Martin Fogarty said he knew one businessman who had benefited by about J1,000 a week from the promotion. Stopping the promotion weeks before Christmas, could cost him dearly, added Cllr Fogarty.
The campaign will see free parking in Templemore on the four Saturdays of December, from 10am. Parking machines in the town will be marked with laminated posters advertising the campaign.
Cllr Valerie Young stated: “I am acutely aware of the need for people to cut back in these times of severe austerity and with an up and coming severe budget forecast for next week, people want the best value they can get. But there’s a lot to be said for shopping local. How many times have we visited a large shopping centre - invariably you end always end up spending more than you mean to, so why not make a resolution this year to try and source as much as you can locally and by doing that you know you are helping to keep jobs in town.
“Major multiple stores are sucking the life out of small towns and we can all do our bit to help. However small, it all makes a difference. It has been a pleasure to see the Council and Traders working together on a joint initiative to create more business for our town. With a great competition to win J2,000 and free parking on Saturdays in December, you have an excuse to come and see what Templemore has to offer.”