Chamber of Commerce News

Skibbereen retailers are in for a welcome surprise this Spring

Funded and managed by the West Cork Enterprise Board. Retail guru James Burke will deliver the training programme on behalf of the Board along with visual merchandising expert Celine Cummins. 

The West Cork Enterprise Board ran this programme in both Clonakilty and Bandon in 2012 and both programmes were a huge success with fantastic feedback from retailers. With a growing demand and need for such training from retailers in Skibbereen, the Board has allocated funding to run a Skibbereen programme.

Commencing in March, over a 4 month period, the intensive training programme will cover areas including: developing aggressive sales and growth strategies; strategic retail management; negotiation and developing world class customer service; visual merchandising and best display practice. Retailers will also receive an individual store audit and a visual merchandising audit.

Speaking about the course, Michael Hanley, CEO, West Cork Enterprise Board said, “We are delighted to be recruiting for this programme in Skibbereen town. We realise the needs of independent retailers and we are glad to be able to assist them. Without our local independent retailers our West Cork towns would be very different places. Our objective in running this programme is to give a new outlook to retailers and provide them with new tools which they can implement at a relatively low cost to their business over the coming months”.

Also speaking about the course, retail consultant James Burke said, “It was a great to work with the Bandon and Clonakilty retailers in 2012, which despite some tough times were still positive about their businesses. With overall retail sales in Ireland down by more than 4% for 2012 alone, it is imperative for retailers to plan ahead for their business in 2013. I am looking forward to working with the Skibbereen retailers and I am confident that each of them can increase their business by up to 5%, after partaking in the programme, by putting in to practice some effective techniques which they will learn on the programme”.   

Secretary of the Skibbereen Chamber of Commerce Maeve McCarthy commented: “This is a great opportunity for retailers to benefit from an industry leading expert. When you are operating in stringent times it is so easy to focus on day to day operations. By completing a training course like this , it gives one an opportunity to step back from your business and view it in a holistic manner to see what steps are necessary to increase business and ultimately profits. The Skibbereen Chamber would encourage all retailing members to consider applying for this course”.  

Recruitment is now taking place for what is anticipated to be a heavily subscribed  course, interested applicants should complete an online application from the West Cork Enterprise Board’s website: or call 023-8834700.