Sunday 15 December 2019

Bittersweet goodbyes to Doyle's shop

Paddy Leniston, Majella Millar and Daragh Doyle on the last day
Paddy Leniston, Majella Millar and Daragh Doyle on the last day
Butcher Paddy Leniston gets a hug from long time customer Peggy Ryan

Anna Hayes

Emotions ran high in Bridgetown on Saturday as Frank Doyle and Son Craft Butchers closed their doors for the final time.

After 60 years in business, the shop has served its last cut of beef and, all week, locals called in to express their gratitude to the long-running business.

The Doyle family announced, via social media, that they intended to cease trading following the loss of its heartbeat, William, who sadly passed away in April of this year.

William's father Frank started the business in 1958 and it became an institution in south Wexford and beyond, with a strong customer base from Dublin. At its height, the butchers produced all of its own meat from the family farm and abattoir in Pettitstown, supplying the shops in Bridgetown and Kilmore Quay.

Frank was never afraid to spend time engaging with his customers - it was the part of the business that he loved the most. The family said that despite having a number of retirement parties over the years, he never really retired and stayed involved in the business until his passing.

William joined Frank in the business and drove it on into the modern era, developing a state of the art shop and steering it through the challenging years of recession. Hugely popular with his customers, his kind and gentle nature was always enduring. Frank, William and the butcher shop will always remain part of the folklore of Bridgetown.

William's brother Daragh said it was a very emotional day with a lot of tears, even from customers. He pointed out that one woman had been a customer since the day the shop opened 60 years ago.

'It was a very busy week. On Saturday, we were sold out by 3 p.m. so we pulled the curtain and locked up.'

He explained that the trading conditions had become very difficult and even before his brother fell ill they had discussed the long term sustainability of the business.

'We were the only butcher shop in this wider area. I think people will only miss us now that we're gone but the reality is that people are going to supermarkets to buy meat. Our business has halved since 2009.'

He expressed his gratitude to the shop's loyal customers and also paid tribute to butchers Paddy Leniston and Majella Miller who had given dedicated service for many years.

Daragh said: 'That evening, Paddy, Majella, Jenny (William's wife) and I went to another village institution, 'Bridie's', and toasted to Frank and William. As we said: in life all good things have to come to an end.'

Wexford People

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