By Amy Rohu
This year saw the demolition of the Stillorgan Bowl, more recently known as the Leisureplex. The landmark bowling alley that opened in 1963, was Ireland’s first bowling alley and hosted events with artists such as Phil Collins and Bruce Springsteen.
The innovative space became iconic for Stillorgan with many people working and socialising there.
Just three years later Ireland’s first shopping centre opened across the road, moving Stillorgan further into the future.
Nimble Fingers, a hobby and book store based in the heart of Stillorgan village, are still standing strong despite the major changes around them over the last number of years. The store is looking forward to 60 years in business next year.
As Nimble Fingers approach their milestone birthday, Katherine Staunton spoke to the Dublin Gazette and reflected on the businesses success over the last number of years and how they have coped during the pandemic:
“A combination of things I think. We have a reputation for good customer service, and quality products. We spend a lot of time sourcing products and have confidence in what we sell, in return customers have confidence in us. In an established business it’s important to maintain tradition & values, but move forward at the same time.
Staffing is also very important, we have a great team of personable and willing staff, so they create a lovely atmosphere. Lastly, I think having time to offer customers is becoming increasingly rare, so that is definitely something people appreciate here. We try to have enough staff here at all times, so that we can give each customer more time.”
She continued: We’ve been quite lucky over the past 18 months. We’ve remained open to some capacity throughout, and there was demand for trampolines, jigsaws, and art materials. The main issues we have been facing are supply, and rising costs. I think being a small business will benefit us this year though. As stock levels are so low across the board, we are only able to order small amounts, but luckily we have a huge number of suppliers to order from. There’s more work involved, but I think as a result we will have a really nice variety this year.
Stillorgan Bowl opened one year after Nimble Fingers, who began trading in 1962. The bowling alley was right next door to the business and now the store will have to get used to new neighbours.
The new plans for the area include an 8 storey apartment block with restaurant, cafes and retail outlets on the ground floor.
Speaking about the demolition and plans for the area, Katherine said: “It’s sad to see any business close, it was particularly sad seeing staff leave. Of course we lost a bit of business as there were a lot of birthday parties in the bowling alley, but I think the new development will be good for us in the long run. Now we are looking forward to seeing it and the new life it will bring to the community.”
While no plans have been made yet for their milestone birthday next May, Katherine said they will ‘definitely’ be marking the occasion.