One of the many wonderful things about Sligo town is that it’s full of locally and independently owned businesses. These small vibrant shops have been open for decades and have seen many changes in the town. And now they’re a vital cornerstone of the community. When we spoke with Deirdre from the Hobby Shop and Eason’s on O’Connell Street, she told us how the business has evolved with the times. From a grocers established by her grandparents, to a thriving bookshop, to Eason’s and then on to their newest venture, Hobby Shop. Deirdre and her team have been able to adjust quickly for the changes in their lives since this lockdown started. They have moved online, are using social media, and created a new website that includes click-and-collect options – all of which are now a part of business life.
The history of Hobby Shop
Deirdre says about life in Sligo town “My family have been trading in Sligo town for over 80 years when my grandparents set up Conway’s pub and grocery on High Street. We started bookselling in 1996 when we opened “The Sligo Bookshop” at no 46 O’Connell St. While we took on the Eason franchise in 2007, we are still very much independent retailers. We make all our own buying decisions and we try to support local authors and suppliers.”
Deirdre continues, “In 2020 we decided to set up an Art Supplies & Toy shop next door to Easons and the Hobby Shop was born. We spent much of the first lockdown planning the brand. We wanted it to encompass a Bookshop, Toy Shop and Art Supplies Shop all in one to reflect our new website offering www.hobbyshop.ie. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions the store itself has been closed more than it has been open! However, we have been working hard at the website and we are thrilled with how it is going so far. The website ships nationwide and, as soon as restrictions allow, we will be offering a Click-and-Collect service from the store. This will allow Sligo people to go on our website, place their order and collect in store within an hour!”
Hobby Shop products perfect for Lockdown
“With more people spending time at home this year, we have noticed an increased demand for art and hobby supplies and the Hobby shop stocks a great range of art brands such as Posca, Faber Castell, Windsor Newton and Fimo. We also stock a selection of toy and hobby brands such as Lego, Airfix, Orchard Toys and Ravensburger. The Hobby Shop has a wide range of jigsaws and family board games as well as a special strand of STEM toys for children.”
“As an Irish company, we want to focus now on Irish made games and toys and Irish authors so that we can build a strong catalogue of Irish made products. Sligo has always been a hub for all things creative so there couldn’t be a better town in Ireland to run a business like this. Launching a new brand in the middle of pandemic has been a challenge but we are really excited about getting our doors open again this summer.”
For more information, visit www.hobbyshop.ie or follow the Hobby Shops adventures @hobbyshop.ie.