Last week’s storm Barra left almost 30,000 homes without power when the high winds, rain and snow came in off the Atlantic. There was no real structural damage but schools and colleges were closed for three days.
“The weather warnings and closures meant that no one went out,” explains Justin Leonard from wholesaler Jackie Leonard & Sons. “The south west was worst hits but businesses across the country lost trade. This week we have also seen a trucker strike, where they blocked Dublin Port for a few hours.”
It has been another tough year for Irish businesses and those who supply them, although restrictions have been mostly lifted pubs and restaurants must close at 12 midnight and only a maximum of six people are allowed at a table, according to Justin it’s mostly young people who are going out, the over 40s tend to stay at home.
“The younger generation are more confident about going out, but unfortunately they spend less on food when they are out. People are still eating out though and due to the early closing, they tend to go out earlier. The numbers are nowhere near pre-pandemic but up on last year when we were still in lock down in Ireland.”
Justin said that they now only order what has been requested and nothing extra.
During the first lock down Justin started a fruit and vegetable box service and although the demand inevitably dropped when the country re-opened, it has remained a viable part of the business. Customers can also order gift boxes and Christmas hampers.
“We get a lot of orders from people who, for example have been in hospital and want to thank the staff by sending in a fruit box, also orders for hampers have been picking up since last week and we already have quite a few orders for next week. It is good side-line to our main business.”