The new Daybreak concept has enabled Cunniffes Daybreak to provide a city offering in a country setting, Teresa Cunniffe tells IF&CR.
Situated only a short distance from Galway City, the quiet village of Cloonboo is home to Cunniffes Daybreak. The store which has been run by Teresa Cunniffe for the past 14 years went under an extensive refurbishment in October 2017 to become the third store in the country with Daybreak’s shiny new brand identity. “We were the first shop at the time in the West to get the new look,” Teresa tells Ireland’s Forecourt & Convenience Retailer. “It gives us a little boost to know Musgrave thought we were worth investing in.”
Launched at the end of last year, Daybreak’s innovative, new identity focuses on providing healthy convenience options to shoppers and bringing a fresh new look to the stores, in line with the brand’s core principles of ‘fast, easy and local shopping’.
With an attached bar, the Cloonboo shop had previously traded as a traditional convenience store, but with the refurbishment, came a contemporary new deli and coffee station. “I liked the new look and that was part of the reason why I went with Daybreak. You look at all the other brands and it’s hard to find one that has everything you need. Daybreak ticked all the boxes for us,” says Teresa.
The deli, under Daybreak’s signature branding Munch & Co, runs for 12 hours a day and begins at 7am for breakfast. Alongside a selection of traditional options the deli also offers customers the chance to choose from a healthy selection of scrambled egg pots and topped toast.
“Our customers love all the new healthy options and it’s great to be able to offer them such a huge range away from the big city,” says Teresa. “It’s strange for people to be used to having avocado on toast out here in Cloonboo but if we can give it to them, they are happy to get it.”
The carvery for lunch is also proving popular with locals and tourists alike, as well as the range of sandwiches, wraps, and food-to-go. With other businesses in Cloonboo, in addition to stores the nearby village of Corrandulla, Teresa is especially impressed that customers in the local area are beginning to think of Cunniffes Daybreak as a go-to lunch location.“We are happy with the custom that we get and it is growing all the time,” she says. “It helps that we are on the main road and of course with our new concepts we have a very unique offering and are not just a run of the mill deli.”
In terms of the growing business Teresa is particularly thankful to Musgrave.
“I can’t fault Musgrave as they have been behind me 100 percent. It’s always nice to have someone at the end of the phone especially when you get something new and you don’t know what to do with it. Ciaran Burke, the Fresh Food Advisor has been with us from day one and we have had his head turned, but we have learned a lot and gained a huge amount of experience. I definitely think it was the right direction to go in.”
One concern, Teresa did have when taking the plunge to completely revamp the shop, was taking away her much loved coffee brand to replace it with a 9 Gram coffee and treat station. “People don’t like change at the best of times,” she says. “But I’m pleased we have had great feedback on the coffee from locals as they are who we need to keep happy. It doesn’t look so dated anymore and everyone comments on the new look as well as the great taste.”
Next door, Cunniffe’s Bar, also run by the family, generates a lot of trade for the shop. Without a kitchen, customers who frequent the bar can make full use of the deli while enjoying an afternoon or evening drink.
Good customer service is another area that Cunniffes Daybreak excels in. Since joining Daybreak, Teresa has found the training support from Musgrave an invaluable tool. “We are lucky enough that the staff we have – and they are good staff – are mostly locals because it’s becoming very difficult to get staff at the moment,” she says. “If they are based in Galway City, they don’t want to come out and I suppose it is nice for the locals to be served at the till by people they know. It’s about getting the balance right and everyone getting on.”
Although the deli has been the most transformative aspect of the renovation, during the revamp the entire shop was gutted to be replaced with new tills and display cabinets. The rural location of Cunniffes Daybreak means that the store experiences a higher proportion than normal of top up basket shoppers. “We aren’t just a minerals and confectionary kind of area,” says Teresa. “As we are based between the larger supermarkets of Galway and Headford, we are the go to for bread, milk and convenience products.”
Galway City, Teresa assures IF&CR, has a lot of traffic issues and locals are relieved to leave the congestion behind to pull in on the way home to pick up their bits and pieces, or to grab dinner. And, it’s not just locals either as Teresa remarks: “At least once a day we get asked for directions to Ashford Castle. We do get a good passing trade and that can be all year round – they’re in enjoying the coffee and we are always happy to see that.”
As the popular tourist destination prepares for its summer season, Teresa will be ramping up the marketing for the store including driving Daybreak’s sub-brands Munch & Co and 9 Grams coffee. “For us now, because we are starting out as a new concept, we are aiming to get the word out there to get people to think about us. For years our customers would have known about us as a convenience store, but they wouldn’t have thought about stopping in for something to eat.
“Now they are very complimentary of our revamp as it was very long overdue – our new look has quite literally dragged us into the 21st century and I couldn’t be happier.”