Seamus O’Reilly has seen many changes in Blackpool, Cork, over the years.
A seasoned retailer who is nearing 70, Seamus has run a retail business in the town since the 1970s but only last year realised his dream of a state-of-the-art c-store and forecourt offering that has wowed the local customers.
A conservative businessman, Seamus oversaw changes and developments on the site over the past 30 years. Starting out with just three small petrol pumps, Seamus built up a good fuel business.
“When I started out, the industry was hit by a number of petrol strikes. I noticed that those around me were being conservative with their fuel so I decided to sell to anyone who needed it until I ran out.
“I was with BP then and my petrol my fuel sales built up from this.”
Like most retailers, Seamus’s business grew organically. A few years later in the early 80s he purchased a property next door which enabled him to build a small unbranded store on the site which he opened in 1982.
“A few years later we introduced a car wash – possibly Ireland’s first conveyer system! I also built a tyre bay based on a model I had seen in Germany and leased out the unit. At this time BP exited the market and Statoil acquired the business – my fuel sales at that time were the highest in BP’s Irish network.”
Now a Statoil branded forecourt, Seamus purchased another property next door which gave him more room for storage – but in the back of his mind he was already planning what stands on the site today.
With his son Aidan now in the business, Seamus aligned with Maxol in the early 90s – a relationship that still remains strong.
When the decision was made last year to redevelop the whole site, Maxol remained on the forecourt and Seamus and Aidan chose the Mace brand for the new c-store.
“We completely redeveloped the store and installed new pumps and canopy with the latest Maxol livery and what we have now is a fantastic operation – and a striking looking one too,” enthused Seamus.
He continued: “Our shop always did good business but the new store now has a deli, ATM, off-licence so it is already establishing itself as a destination – which is what I always wanted.
“Customers can get anything they want from car washing to tyres, solid fuel, grocery, deli and off-sales.”
The reaction from the locals has been fantastic and they are happy to have such a high standard of retail operation on hand. The store is about 10 minutes from Cork city centre and focuses very much on the local community.
“The customer feedback has been fantastic,” said Seamus. Blackpool is an old established community and I have found our customers to be the most loyal around and they view the store and forecourt with a huge amount of pride as they now have their own state-of-the-art destination.”
The decision to choose the Mace symbol to complement the Maxol brand was taken after Seamus and Aidan viewed how well the partnership works for BWG and Maxol on their respective company owned stores.
“Business has certainly increased since the new store opened, however fuel still remains a huge part of the business,” said Seamus.
Looking to the future of the business, Seamus is going to take a more back seat role in his twilight years but he says he’ll be in the store each day!
“Aidan will be driving the business. I come to work every day and it keeps me young! I have loved it from the first day I started and I don’t want to stop. I also have to pay tribute to my wonderful staff. They have been with me for a long time and been very good for the business and I hope to see them here for a long time yet!
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