Straffan Mace has a new facelift. The village shop has undergone a refurbishment resulting in significantly more pleasing lighting. The customersall notice the change in lighting ambience, something that manager Michael O’Rafferty finds very interesting.
‘I have managed this shop with my wife Ger for the best part of a decade,’ says Michael. ‘And while we would be sympathetic to layout and product placement, the lighting had not been an obvious part of our customer appeal
‘Yet since we have installed our new lighting we get daily compliments on how well everything looks,’ he says.
Michael came to retail in a roundabout fashion. He worked for 30 years with Eircom as a draughtsman before taking redundancy and moving into a parallel career in security at the K Club. He came for three months and was still there nine years later. He grew to love the quiet Kildare countryside while he wife worked in the village shop. Then the lease for Mace Straffan came up for negotiation and Michael and his wife decided to take the plunge.
‘Ger already knew the ropes from working day to day in the shop,’ says Michael. ‘And for me it was a whole new challenge. We opened the doors together ten years ago and we have not looked back once.’ The energetic couple run the shop on a seven day basis. They take turns on opening the shop each morning and one will definitely stay until closing which is eight o’clock.
‘I don’t think we have taken a holiday in all that time,’ says Michael but he would not have it any other way. Ger works front of shop, looks after the customers and does the purchasing. Michael is based in the backoffice, the powerhouse of the shop as he refers to it. It was a chance meeting with local customer Charlie Grendon that led to the new lighting. Charlie is the
managing director of Get Solutions, a company that specialises in replacing traditional expensive lighting with cost effective LED lighting. He asked if his company might provide a quote to switch out the old lighting. Michael agreed.
‘I know now that the resultant ambient lighting is pretty awesome, but the actual reason for undertaking the switch was cost,’ explains Michael. ‘Get Solutions did a free audit. They showed that I would reduce my energy spend on lighting by more than 50%. They also suggested I borrow the money through AIB. It turned out that the savings were so significant, that I could pay off the loan in less than three years. This was a real win win scenario.’ Michael was already a customer of AIB and he presented his case for obtaining the loan of a little more than €6000. Get Solutions provided the supporting paperwork to explain the case. ‘Within a week I had the full loan sitting in my bank account,’ said Michael. ‘It could not have been easier.’ Get Solutions came in to do the refit on a Thursday afternoon. They worked through the night and finished at 8am the following morning. The returned the following day to finish three exterior lights as it had been raining. ‘The switchover was painless and the team left the place immaculate,’ says Michael. ‘It actually costs me less money to run the lights each month even with the loan and I cannot wait for the end of loan when the difference will go directly into my pocket.’ And the customers enjoy the new lighting so much that sales have increased all round. ‘As I said,’ says Michael, ‘it’s a win win situation.’