LEIXLIP’s reputation as a hub for multinational high tech export manufacturing is now well cemented with the continued presence of Intel and Hewlett Packard on the edge of the town.
But its town centre retail problems have been highlighted on numerous occasions.
A new retail business is going someway to provide a sales outlet for small indigenous craft and food businesses among others.
Mary Gorman opened The Rye Gallery at 37 Main Street following a career in retail working with some of the biggest companies in the country.
It sells goods like cheese, sweets chocolates, bread and many home produced produce from Irish companies.
In addition, she has provided an outlet for local crafts people, artists and photographers.
Mary told the Leader she felt there was no focal point for a lot of good quality produce from Irish producers and decided to try and provide this via the Rye Gallery.
In some senses, that local element has been attractive to not only local residents but the many visitors who stay at the Courtyard Hotel and Leixlip House Hotel. “We have had US, Italian and other visitors,” in said Mary.
There is a lot of produce from the area but it is 95% Irish, is how she describes the goods, ranging from the work of wood turners to fudge makers.
A native of Laois, Mary studied sales and marketing before going into the grocery trade where she has spent most of her time dealing with the big food retailers. As a result, she said, the idea of supporting small artisan producers appealed to her.
Added to that experience, she did a business and innovation course before opening the Rye Gallery.
She has also got some advice from a sister who had her own business in the USA.
Some of her suppliers are selling through distributors – she deals a lot with Sheridan’s - but others are single suppliers.
Since she opened on Friday, 29 June, Irish herbs grown in Wicklow and porridge created in Kilbeggan are among the goods she has been selling. “People who have visited the shop have been returning and are bringing friends.”
The Rye Gallery can be contacted on 01-6154962.
- Henry Bauress